Democrats consider 'contingency options' for July convention

Democrats consider 'contingency options' for July convention
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The coronavirus pandemic is forcing the committee charged with planning the Democratic National Convention to consider emergency “contingency options” for the event, scheduled July 13-16 in Milwaukee.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE has publicly stated that there are no plans to cancel or significantly alter the convention, but the Democratic National Convention Committee acknowledged publicly for the first time on Monday that it is considering backup plans if the coronavirus continues to pose a public health threat this summer.

“As we navigate the unprecedented challenge of responding to the coronavirus, we're exploring a range of contingency options to ensure we can deliver a successful convention without unnecessary risk to public health,” said Katie Peters, the communications director for the committee. “This is a very fluid situation — and the convention is still more than three months away. We are committed to sharing updates with the public in the coming weeks and months as our plans continue to take shape."

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The convention would bring thousands of people to Milwaukee, packing them into a basketball arena. During past conventions, people can be stacked jowl-to-jowl as reporters, delegates and aides hustle around. Even the concourses of the arenas can be as crowded as for a typical NBA game. The NBA suspended its season two weeks ago because of coronavirus. 

The committee declined to elaborate on its contingency plans, but there are a host of unexpected challenges the committee could face in the coming weeks as it seeks to keep the convention in place.

Democratic donors have told The Hill that political fundraising has been frozen in the face of the dual health and economic crises.

The Democratic convention is scheduled to be held in the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, where the Milwaukee Bucks play. It's unclear when the Bucks and other teams might resume their games — with or without fans in the stands. But there could be scheduling conflicts if play resumes.

In addition, there are questions as to when and how the eventual nominee will claim victory.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenProsecutor investigating whether Tara Reade gave false testimony as expert witness Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally George Floyd's sister says Minneapolis officers should be charged with murder MORE has opened up a large lead in delegates over Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProgressives raise alarm over letting lobbying groups access PPP funds Loeffler runs ad tying Doug Collins to Pelosi, Sanders, Biden Hillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel MORE (I-Vt.). But Sanders remains in the race and many states are postponing their primaries to keep large crowds of people away from polling stations.

Several state primaries have been rescheduled for mid-June, less than a month before the scheduled convention. Some state conventions, where delegates are elected, have also been postponed.