A view of the stage at the Wells Fargo Center during the 2016 Democratic National Convention (Wikimedia Commons)
A view of the stage at the Wells Fargo Center during the 2016 Democratic National Convention (Wikimedia Commons)

An electoral process has been established for any registered Democrat who wants to become a delegate to the next Democratic National Convention at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee from July 13-17, 2020. D.C. Democratic State Committee Chairman Charles Wilson encourages party members to run for the 11 positions designated for the rank-and-file.

“You will have a direct impact on who the next president of the United States will be,” he said.

A meeting on delegate election took place on Dec. 11 at the WeWork Co-working & Office Space Building in Southeast with 11 people attending. Eric Rogers, who at the time chaired the D.C. Democratic State Committee’s Black Caucus, presided over the meeting and talked about the process.

Rogers said the city will be divided into two congressional districts for the purpose of delegate selection. He said District 1 will consist of Wards 1,2, 6 and 8 while District 2 makes up Wards 3, 4, 5 and 7.

In District 1, three men and three women will be elected delegates with no alternates while in District 2, three men and three women — two delegates and one alternate — will go to Milwaukee.

Rogers said party members desiring to be delegates will have to campaign like political candidates.

“If you want to be a delegate, you will have to knock on doors, sell yourself and raise money,” he said.

Rogers said the top vote-getters in their District’s categories will become delegates with the alternate going to the female with the third-best vote total in District 2. The election will take place at the D.C. Democratic state convention, he said.

Delegate candidates will have to abide by the city’s campaign finance rules and regulations like political candidates, Rogers said. In addition, a statement of candidacy form must be filled out and submitted to the party.
The state convention has tentatively been scheduled for April 18, 2020, with the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest as the preferred site but with the University of the District of Columbia’s campus in Northwest as another possibility.

Rogers said national delegates will be responsible for getting to Milwaukee and their expenses there but noted that the D.C. Democratic State Committee has negotiated special rates with its selected hotel and the Democratic National Committee usually partners with an airline for discounted fares.

Roger said the other 32 delegates and one alternate going to Milwaukee will consist of D.C. Democratic elected officials, key members of the D.C. Democratic State Committee and some prominent residents such as former President Barack Obama if he chooses to go to the convention as a D.C. resident.

Rogers said campaigning for the delegate position “should be fun but don’t forget that this is politics.”

“You will have to work hard to become a delegate and sometimes things won’t go your way,” he said. “Remember that the important thing is that you want to go to Milwaukee to get Donald Trump from the White House.”

Mara on the GOP Delegate Process

Patrick Mara, executive director of the D.C. Republican Party, said the process for becoming a delegate to the Republican National Convention that will take place from Aug. 24-27, 2020, at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, has become more open than in the past.

“We don’t plan on having a state convention mainly because of costs,” Mara said. “If one wants to become a delegate, they will have to apply.”

Mara said there will be 16 delegates and 16 alternates that will be selected by the party’s executive committee. The criteria for selection will be based on a background check, volunteerism in the party, whether they have run for office in the District and fundraising activities.

In addition, the prospective delegate or alternate must have been a registered Republican two years prior to the June 2, 2020, Republican primary.

Mara said the process for selecting delegates and alternates will most likely take place in early January. One of the reasons for that, he said, has to do with President Trump having no major opposition for renomination.

Mara encourages qualified Republicans to seek to represent the city in Charlotte.

“I want to encourage east of the river or an D.C. Republican to apply to be a delegate or alternate and they can do so by going to dcgop.com,” he said.

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James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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