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A Political Plan B: DNC organizers prepare contingency options for Milwaukee’s July Convention

With the Democratic National Convention less than four months away, committee officials say they are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and exploring a range of contingency options.

Joe Solmonese heads the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee in Milwaukee where the event is expected to be hosted July 13 through 16. Solmonese said the committee will follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health officials in the days and weeks ahead.

On March 23, Governor Tony Evers announced he would issue a “stay-at-home” order in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Democratic National Committee officials did not elaborate on their contingency planning. The convention is expected to bring 50,000 people to Milwaukee and the surrounding areas.

“This is a very fluid situation — and the convention is still more than three months away,” Katie Peters, communications director for the committee, said in a statement. “We are committed to sharing updates with the public in the coming weeks and months as our plans continue to take shape.”

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 Biden has opened up a large lead in delegates over Senator Bernie Sanders (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.

Solmonese said the committee remains in constant communication with local, state, and federal officials responsible for protecting public health and security.

“Ensuring the safety of convention attendees and local residents is — and will always remain — our top priority,” Solmonese said in a written statement. “Every convention necessitates developing a number of contingency plans to provide for a variety of scenarios.”

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