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Exclusive: Democrats, anticipating heated primary, set earlier 2020 convention date

Democrats will hold their convention in 2020 earlier than they have in more than two decades, Democratic operatives t...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 4:51 PM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 4:51 PM

Democrats will hold their convention in 2020 earlier than they have in more than two decades, Democratic operatives tell CNN, partly out of anticipation of a crowded and contentious primary.

The Democratic National Convention is slated to take place from July 13 to July 16, 2020, almost two weeks earlier than the 2016 convention.

Democratic National Committee officials, including chair Tom Perez and interim DNC CEO Mary Beth Cahill, have considered a series of factors in deciding to host their biggest political event earlier than normal, party operatives tell CNN. But a key reason for the decision is the expectation the 2020 primary could be a combative affair with more than two dozen Democrats running, making it essential that the party allow more time for tensions to cool after a nominee is officially selected.

"The Democratic Party is committed to organizing everywhere and holding the convention in mid-July allows us to continue our work doing exactly that," Perez said in a statement. "My priority is to ensure that the 2020 nominating process is the most open, fair, transparent and inclusive in our party's history."

He added: "That is exactly why the DNC has started this process early and before we have a full slate of candidates running for president. This will not only allow for a unified party but will ensure that our nominee is in the strongest position to take on Donald Trump or whoever the Republican nominee may be."

By selecting the July week, the Democratic National Committee is also opting to hold their convention more than a week before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which begins on July 24. Conventions and Summer Olympics are always on the same schedule, but past Democratic committees, like those in 2008 and 2012, have opted to go after the international sporting event, not before.

Perez and others came to this decision after reaching out to top operatives from past Democratic presidential campaigns, including Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns and Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, as well as leaders on Capitol Hill like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Perez also wanted to announce the decision before too many candidates were officially in the presidential race, operatives told CNN. The concern was if the party announced an earlier-than-normal convention while multiple candidates had already stepped into the race, some could complain that the DNC was attempting to cut off the primary early.

Democrats are currently considering eight host cities for their convention: Atlanta; Birmingham, Alabama; Denver; Houston; Miami Beach; Milwaukee; New York; and San Francisco.

Final requests for proposals are required to be returned to the DNC Friday, party officials tell CNN.

The site of the convention often serves as either a symbolic representation of where the party hopes to perform well in the presidential run or an area that represents certain values the party is looking to project.

The 2020 convention will now be the earliest Democratic event since the 1992 gathering, which saw then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton win the party's nomination. The 1992 convention in New York was held at the same time as the 2020 convention will be.

It's the earliest convention held by either party in more than two decades.

The party out of power in the White House traditionally holds the first convention, meaning the Republican National Convention -- which is expected to be in Las Vegas, Nevada or Charlotte, North Carolina -- would come after the Democrats' mid-July event.

Leah Daughtry, a longtime Democratic operative who was CEO of the 2008 and 2016 conventions, said that the 1992 convention was an example of an early convention helping to heal the party after a contentious primary.

"Earlier conventions have historically been better for the Democratic Party," Daughtry said, "because if there has been any sort of contentiousness in the primaries, it just gives more time for people to come together."

There are also financial reasons Democratic operatives want to name a nominee earlier than normal.

An earlier convention also allows the eventual nominee to spend general election funds earlier in the race. While candidates can raise money for both their primary and general election funds during the primary, they cannot spend the general election money until they secure the nomination, according to Federal Election Commission rules.

In 2016, a candidate could raise $2,700 for the primary and $2,700 for the general from the same donor, making $5,400 the max one donor can give to a candidate in both the primary and general. That number could change for the 2020 election.

If a candidate raises money for the general but fails to secure the nomination, they most "refund, redesignate or reattribute the general election contributions" within 60 days of withdrawing from the race, according to federal election laws.

A top Democratic operative involved in the decision said the desire to allow their eventual nominee to access general election funds earlier was influential in the decision.

"We have taken into consideration the fact that we want to make sure our party is unified heading into the fall and also make sure the nominee is in the strongest position possible as they head into the general election, which includes using general election funds," the operative said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295675

Reported Deaths: 6743
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19690230
Hinds18812389
Harrison16722280
Rankin12725265
Jackson12603228
Lee9691160
Madison9466203
Jones7978147
Forrest7217138
Lauderdale6836226
Lowndes6031140
Lamar588480
Lafayette5736113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4612123
Oktibbeha441493
Panola430894
Pearl River4174130
Warren4130115
Pontotoc409771
Marshall403392
Monroe3990126
Union395674
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3544103
Hancock347975
Leflore3376118
Sunflower318986
Tate302974
Pike300796
Scott293970
Alcorn291862
Itawamba290075
Yazoo289963
Tippah278965
Coahoma278668
Copiah278158
Simpson275879
Prentiss269858
Wayne254241
Marion252778
Leake252671
Covington248980
Grenada247578
Adams234678
George231845
Newton229952
Winston221777
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201152
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170939
Clarke169371
Calhoun157928
Smith152832
Yalobusha144836
Greene127733
Walthall124240
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry121734
Lawrence120421
Carroll118425
Amite111734
Webster110631
Jefferson Davis101931
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93524
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77214
Franklin76119
Choctaw69617
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48917
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 494421

Reported Deaths: 9991
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson711451374
Mobile36184735
Madison32457458
Tuscaloosa24213412
Montgomery22636517
Shelby22020214
Baldwin19790284
Lee14980154
Morgan13693251
Calhoun13307287
Etowah13192320
Marshall11269209
Houston10102261
Elmore9408185
Limestone9376134
Cullman8903181
St. Clair8839224
Lauderdale8601212
DeKalb8465175
Talladega7552164
Walker6538258
Jackson6503103
Autauga630391
Blount6106127
Colbert5993119
Coffee5254102
Dale4648107
Russell405233
Franklin399478
Covington3970106
Chilton3883100
Escambia378172
Tallapoosa3596143
Clarke343753
Chambers3421111
Dallas3412141
Pike293372
Lawrence283684
Marion283495
Winston247368
Bibb245460
Geneva240270
Marengo236557
Pickens224555
Barbour212451
Hale210668
Fayette200957
Butler197566
Henry182641
Cherokee177139
Monroe166339
Randolph163840
Washington156635
Crenshaw145254
Clay145054
Macon142343
Cleburne137841
Lamar133133
Lowndes131251
Wilcox122525
Bullock117136
Conecuh106724
Perry105827
Sumter98632
Coosa89224
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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