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.