Democratic National Convention 2020 chooses Milwaukee over Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Millions of your tax dollars were on the line as Houston fought to attract Democrats to town for the party's next national convention.

The Democratic National Committee announced Milwaukee as their host city for its 2020 Convention.

The Democratic National Committee's decision will take the party to the heart of the working-class upper Midwest that delivered President Donald Trump to the White House.

Before 2016, Republicans hadn't won Wisconsin since 1984. Trump added Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania to upset Hillary Clinton.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez picked Milwaukee over Miami and Houston. It will be the first time in more than a century that Democrats gather in a Midwest city other than Chicago to nominate their presidential candidate.

Milwaukee also will be one the smallest cities to host a presidential convention, topping two other finalist cities that have hosted national political conventions and Super Bowls.

Houston was prepared to offer big bucks to draw the DNC to the Bayou City.

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Houston First, the city's convention and tourism arm, voted to approve millions of dollars in grants and loans to entice the DNC to come here.

In a unanimous vote, Houston First's board approved a $1 million grant to the DNC, $1.1 million in local matching funds and a $2.6 million line of credit.

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Houston Convention & Visitor's Bureau, a separate (but connected) entity has also pledged $1 million towards the effort. The money was only going to the DNC if the convention was awarded to Houston.
Houston First already spent $680,000 of your tax money marketing the city to Democrats, including $200,000 funding a trip to town by the DNC selection committee last April.

Houston First is funded mainly by a portion of hotel occupancy taxes paid by people who stay in Houston hotels.

Houston First admits the funds are coming from the agency's "emergency reserve." Houston First had little choice but to say yes. Without the money and line of credit, the DNC would not come.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner released the following statement:
"We are deeply disappointed that the DNC will not bring its 2020 national convention to Houston. Our bid brought together people from both major political parties, and from no particular party, to show that our welcoming city represents the demographic future of America -- and has unmatched experience with putting on mega-events. As Houston has proven many times with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Astros World Series Championship parade, the Super Bowl and the Final Four, the nation's most diverse and fourth most-populous city is an effective host to the world, relying on great people from the private, non-profit, institutional and government sectors to unite and say 'howdy' in more than 100 languages.

As the late President George H.W. Bush wrote to me in June in support of our bid, 'Our facilities and hotels are world class, but it's really our people - the spirit of our fellow Houstonians - that makes the key difference. No one works harder; no one is friendlier or more welcoming.' We wish the DNC convention planners well and look forward to using our facilities for other highly successful activities in July 2020."
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