The Democratic National Committee is officially delaying the party’s presidential nominating convention from mid-July until August 17, as the US continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Democratic National Convention was originally scheduled to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from July 13-16, but uncertainty about rising coronavirus cases across the country and how long this outbreak will last raised questions about possibly delaying the gathering of over 5,000 party officials, delegates, and journalists. The new date means the DNC will now take place one week before the Republican National Convention, which is still scheduled to happen from August 24-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina, as initially planned.
“In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention,” Joe Solmonese, Democratic National Convention Committee CEO, said in a statement.
Although questions had been accumulating for weeks about delaying the convention and the DNC had told Vox they were monitoring the situation and following public health guidelines, the decision to postpone only came two days after the presumptive nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, weighed in. During an MSNBC appearance on Tuesday, the former vice president, who’s currently leading the delegate count, said it was “hard to envision” the event occurring in July given the current outbreak.
DNC leadership is evaluating the situation to determine if more adjustments, like crowd size, will have to be made to ensure that the event will take place safely and in line with public health guidelines later this summer.
“Ultimately, the health and safety of our convention attendees and the people of Milwaukee is our top priority,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement.
Democrats’ convention is just the latest in a slew of election-related events that are being postponed or adapted to respond to the coronavirus crisis. As Vox’s Sean Collins reported, over a dozen states including New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio have delayed their primary elections because of coronavirus, and the DNC has urged those states that have yet to vote to expand vote-by-mail options.
At this point in the primary, Biden has established a strong lead, with Sen. Bernie Sanders currently trailing him by more than 200 delegates.