Though no official request for proposal has been issued yet, NBC News has learned that the city of Chicago is weighing a potential bid to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention.
According to officials with the consulting group that is working with potential host cities for the convention, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Sen. Tammy Duckworth have all played key roles in beginning to coordinate on a potential bid for the convention, which will take place during the summer prior to the 2024 presidential election.
"The DNC has not issued any form formal request for proposal or anything along that that line. So, we don't know where it's going to go with the processes," Lightfoot said Thursday. "But having said that, of course I think Chicago is ideally situated to be able to showcase our city at a time of really international interest in in the United States, no less than at the Democratic Convention."
The mayor offered up the United Center, Wintrust Arena at McCormick Square and Navy Pier as possible options to house the nationwide event, noting that the location would depend on DNC specifics to be released at a later date.
"We've got it all here in Chicago. We're not a one stop shop," Lightfoot said. "We've got lots of different venues that we can offer."
A source close to the process tells NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern that Chicago and Las Vegas are considered to be among the top candidates for the convention.
"The transportation from the hotel rooms to the United Center was great in 1996," Democratic strategist Kitty Kurth says. "We have a lot of hotel rooms. No one gets stuck having to commute in from two hours away."
According to Tarrah Cooper Wright, communications strategist and CEO of Rise Strategy Group, Chicago’s size, hotel capacity and its status as a traditional Democratic stronghold are being cited as some of its biggest selling points.
“From previous Democratic Conventions to the NATO Summit and annual large-scale events like the Air & Water Show, Chicago has a track record of successfully hosting large-scale events, and has the leadership required to make a convention a success," she said. "Our city and state—a vibrant and diverse metropolis, thriving suburbs and strong rural communities—offer proof that our party’s policies deliver for American families, and a convention would provide a boost to the local economy."
Rep. Robin Kelly, the head of the state’s Democratic party, and Sen. Dick Durbin have also been involved in the planning, per NBC News.
Chicago has hosted the convention on numerous occasions, most recently in 1996 when former President Bill Clinton was nominated for his run at a second term. It also hosted the infamous 1968 convention, with Mayor Richard J. Daley ordering crackdowns on protesters that resulted in large-scale riots and police beating and clubbing protesters.
When asked about whether recent upticks in crime could deter DNC decisionmakers, Kurth says that per-capita rates indicate that Chicago has less crime than other major cities.
"Of course people will talk about it, but realistically I don't think it'll be a problem," she said.
Lightfoot additionally addressed the possible concern in a press conference Thursday, noting that "every major American city and certainly those led by Democratic mayors are facing the same kind of challenges that we're facing."
"...We have initiatives that we've been putting in to address gangs, guns, and the investments that we're making, to really help turn around the fortunes of communities, not just in the short term, but really in the long term," Lightfoot said.
A source told NBC 5 that DNC Chairman Jamie Harrison recently visited Chicago, and met with Pritzker.