Atlanta leaders respond to losing the 2024 Democratic National Convention

Officials say they’re “disappointed” in Biden’s decision

Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

Statements from Atlanta leaders began pouring in Tuesday after the Democratic National Committee announced President Joe Biden selected Chicago to host the 2024 party convention in August.

Despite losing their bid to host the premiere political event, Georgia Democrats said they are confident the state will still make waves for the party.

“While we are of course disappointed in this decision, we send our congratulations to Chicago and are confident in their ability to provide President Biden with a world-class nominating convention,” Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said. “Atlanta fought hard and left everything out on the field. We welcomed the opportunity to showcase not only our world-class facilities but to highlight the civic culture that makes Atlanta truly special: This is the city that represents the future of the Democratic Party.”

A.J Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, said the most important points were that Atlanta submitted an excellent bid and officials worked together.

“I don’t think it was the effort we put forward or the facilities we have that make Atlanta a great place to hold any convention,” Robinson said. “I can only speculate that national politics played the deciding role.”

Atlanta hosted its first and only DNC in 1988. The city’s bid had the backing of Democrats in other southern states, who said the convention coming to Atlanta would be acknowledgement of the party’s strong showing in Georgia over the past few election cycles — including Biden’s presidential victory here in 2020 and the three U.S. Senate runoff victories by Raphael Warnock (twice) and Jon Ossoff.

“Georgia is still very much in the center of politics and presidential politics in particular,” said Bobby Kahn, former chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party. “So good for Chicago, but I think the activity and action in the general election of 2024 is going to be right here.”

Reaction at Atlanta City Hall included widespread disappointment.

“The bid effort for the DNC showcased the best of Atlanta and was supported by a diverse array of stakeholders who highlighted all the ways Atlanta is nationally significant on the American political scene,” City Council President Doug Shipman said. “While it’s a short-term disappointment, Atlanta’s relevance will only continue to grow and we will continue to work hard to grow the Democratic Party in Georgia.”

Councilman Amir Farokhi called Georgia — and the South — the “epicenter for the present and future growth of the Democratic Party.”

“We would have hosted fantastic convention,” Farokhi said. “Chicago is a great city but the South still has something to say.”

Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari said Georgia has become a player in national Democratic politics by “championing our shared Democratic values of inclusivity, prosperity, and community interest.”

“Although this decision was not as we had hoped, it is by no means a referendum on all that we have accomplished and all that we will continue to do showcasing Atlanta’s success to the nation,” she said.

Dickens echoed that sentiment.

“Georgia is the battleground that will decide the 2024 election and Atlanta is the city that will deliver for Democrats up and down the ballot,” the mayor said. “Just as we won in 2020, 2021 and 2022, we will win again in 2024 if we make the right investments, inspire our base, and honor the legacy of those who came before us by tirelessly organizing block by block.

“Even without the convention, Atlanta will fight to keep Georgia blue and expand the Democratic map in the South.”

Staff writer Wilborn Nobles contributed to this report.

More coverage: Atlanta’s bid for the 2024 DNC

Atlanta’s bid to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention fell short, with party officials announcing that Chicago would host the convention. Here’s more about Atlanta’s unsucessful bid:

Atlanta loses bid for Democratic National Convention to Chicago

Podcast: Why Atlanta lost the race for the DNC

The difference? Labor unions sided with Chicago

Economic impact: Experts say loss is not a huge blow

Local reaction: Officials say they’re “disappointed” in Biden’s decision

Republican reaction: Why Georgia’s GOP held its fire

Things to know: Democrats pick Chicago for 2024