City of Houston
Mayor's Office
Media Release


Date: 06/15/2018

Houston submits bid to host 2020 Democratic National Convention

HOUSTON - Houston, recognized for its record of successfully hosting mega-events, today submitted an official bid to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

The bid document of about 600 pages shows how Houston’s convention infrastructure and its people put the city in a superior position to host the presidential nominating convention.

The downtown Toyota Center indoor arena and the close-by, expanded George R. Brown Convention Center in the Avenida Houston convention campus would provide the main gathering spaces for the July 13-16, 2020 convention. A Metro light rail system crisscrosses downtown nearby. Delegates and other participants traveling by air would arrive at Houston’s two international airports. Both have a 4-star rating from Skytrax, making Houston the only U.S. city with two.

About 24,000 hotel rooms would be available within 14 miles of the convention sites, placing the city well ahead of other cities on hospitality logistics. A record-high 20 million visitors traveled to Houston in 2016.

Houston’s specialty in hosting major events shone through with the 2017 Super Bowl, the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament finals and the continuing annual Offshore Technology Conference, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Comicpalooza and others.

The city hosted the Republican National Convention in 1992 and the Democratic National Convention in 1928. Houston has since become the fourth most populous U.S. city and its most diverse, attracting new residents from across the nation and the globe. The city is praised as a pluralistic society that lives as one. (“Nothing less than the story of the American city of the future,” – Los Angeles Times, 5/9/2017)

Houston is strong and resilient. The city showed exceptional mettle, bravery and neighborliness in the aftermath of the floods caused by Harvey. “Houston has bounced back from Harvey faster than anyone predicted, inspiring the Twitter hashtag #HoustonStrong,” The New York Times said on 11/23/2017.

“I am confident that we are the right city and this is the right time to bring the convention to Houston,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in letter to DNC Chairman Tom Perez that introduces the bid package.

“Houston is a proven event town and has excelled in hosting high profile national events,” the mayor said in the letter. “Whether celebratory, such as the Super Bowl or somber, such as the recent memorial events for former First Lady Barbara Bush, we meet the producer’s goals while exceeding expectations with seamless execution and constant attention to public safety.”

Video of a colorful discussion about the convention with the mayor and members of the City Council on June 6 is at Included are Council Members Dave Martin, Martha Castex-Taum, Michael Kubosh, Steve Le, Karla Cisneros, Dwight Boykins and Ellen Cohen, respectively, and Susan Christian, director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.

"The inclusion of Houston in this (bidder) group of elite destinations is a recognition of the outstanding job that our community does in hosting major events," said David Mincberg, board chairman of Houston First, which promotes the city and manages its premier entertainment venues. "It is Houston’s diversity, robust economy and newly transformed convention campus, Avenida Houston, that will set us apart and leave a lasting impression as we strive to secure the 2020 Democratic National Convention.”

"Houston will be the perfect host for the 2020 Democratic National Convention," said Tilman Fertitta, chief executive officer of Landry's, Inc., and owner of the Houston Rockets.  "I can personally guarantee the DNC and its constituents will experience a level of hospitality from our Toyota Center staff and City personnel that will be unmatched anywhere in the United States.  Nobody delivers world class events like the people of Houston, Texas!"

The bid is backed by a diverse host committee being assembled by Mayor Turner, including Mincberg, Fertitta and:
Anthony Chase
President & CEO
ChaseSource, LP
James (Jim) Robert Crane
Chairman and XCEO, Crane Capital Group,
Crane Worldwide Logistics and
Crane Freight & Shipping; 
Owner and Chairman, Houston Astros
Tahir Javed
CEO & President
Riceland Healthcare
Dr. Laura Murillo
President & CEO
Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Jamey Rootes
Houston Texans
Lester and Sue Smith
Founder,  Smith Energy Company
John Thrash, MD
Co-Founder eCORP International
Becca Cason Thrash
Co-founder Paper City
John Eddie Williams, Jr.
Managing Partner
Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas Law Firm
The total contents of Houston’s bid document are confidential while the DNC considers proposals from the competition.

Alan Bernstein
Communications Director

Mary Benton
Press Secretary

Ed. note: On June 6 the Houston City Council considered a resolution in support of the Convention, which they approved by a vote of 15-1. Here is the text of a memo prepared for the discussion...


Meeting Date: 6/5/2018
Item Creation Date: 5/25/2018

MYR 2020 Democratic National Committee Services

Agenda Item#: 7.

RESOLUTION of assurances of support for the 2020 Democratic National Convention


SUBJECT: Resolution assuring certain City services to the Democratic National Committee as part of a bid to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.


Approve a resolution in support of assuring certain City services to the Democratic National Committee in an effort to host the Democratic National Convention in 2020.


The City of Houston is bidding to host the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 2020.  Hosting the convention and related events generates international goodwill and prestige for the host city while providing substantial economic benefits and financial activity. 

The average total economic impact from the 2016 Convention in Philadelphia was estimated to be $230.9 Million. In addition to the 5,783 convention attendees, the event drew 19,250 members of the media and 29,000 additional visitors to the city, resulting in 87,000 room nights. In addition, the convention media coverage resulted in 26.2 million national and international media impressions for the host city.

Houston representatives are scheduled to present the City’s bid to the Democratic National Committee in June of 2018, seeking to make the short list of cities that will be seriously considered as hosts for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.  The Committee will make its designation in January 2019.  The Committee has requested a declaration of support for the host city concerning the performance of reasonable and necessary government services in connection with the Democratic National Convention and related official events as part of the formal bid.

State law allows counties and municipalities to request the Texas Comptroller to establish an Other Events Trust Fund in connection with certain events.  Various incremental tax revenues (with a 6.25 times match of State tax revenues) are placed in the Other Events Trust Fund and are used toward satisfying expenses incurred for the event.  If City Council approves the resolution, and if the City is designated as the site for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, the City Council is authorizing the City to request the Comptroller to initiate and establish an Other Events Trust Fund for the Convention and related official events.  Thereafter, City Council would be asked to approve the City’s share of local matching funds (which will be matched 6.25 times by the State) and a Joinder Agreement with the Host Committee, detailing the use and expenditure of funds from the Other Events Trust Fund

The City is working jointly with Houston First and essential partners, including The Houston Rockets, Greater Houston Partnership, Downtown Management District, hoteliers, and METRO. As with Super Bowl LI and other national competitively bid events, a host committee will be formed to manage the local activities of the Convention.

City Council will be committing support services (including special event services, fire, police, medical emergency, traffic, airport and public works/street maintenance) reasonably necessary to the success of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.  The City is committing support services with the understanding that the Host Committee will reimburse the City for its actual costs for providing these services, as with Super Bowl LI. As part of the bid, Houston First Corporation agrees to provide the George R. Brown Convention Center as the site for the Convention Media Center, Credential Office and other space as required.  The Houston Rockets have agreed to provide the Toyota Center as the official Convention site.

City Council is urged to approve this resolution to provide certain services in an effort to secure the host role for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.




Susan Christian

Director, Special Events