Pritzker, Johnson tout DNC in Chicago at preview

Democrats went off script Wednesday at a media preview of the national convention in Chicago by bringing in two surprise speakers to tout the event.

Making unexpected appearances, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson hit on themes expected to resonate during the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 19 through 22 at the United Center.

“Chicago and Illinois aren’t just places to host a convention but we’re also the best places to show what it means when we say, ‘Democrats deliver,’” Pritzker said.

“Here in Illinois, we protect workers rights, voting rights, civil rights. When the Dobbs decision (on abortion) came down, Illinois became a refuge for women across the Midwest seeking simply to exercise their reproductive rights.”

Issues such as abortion and the war between Israel and Hamas, which has splintered Democrats, are expected to bring thousands of protesters to the city. On Wednesday, a number of pro-Palestinian demonstrators showed up outside the stadium.

Democratic officials have said robust security measures are under way and the convention will go on as planned.

“I’m looking forward to working collaboratively … to make sure we have a safe, a vibrant and energetic convention,” Johnson said. “We’re here to show off to the rest of the world why the city of Chicago is a beautiful place.”

“Chicago DNC 2024 will remind voters about the choice they have in November, pitting Democratic values against what MAGA extremists will be saying a month earlier in Milwaukee,” Pritzker told a crowd of international and national journalists.

  National and international journalists listen to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's remarks at DNC media preview in Chicago Wednesday at the United Center. Marni Pyke/

The Republican National Convention will be held at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee from July 15 to 18.

Illinois Democrats have finalized a slate of delegates but state Republicans will be making additional picks this Friday and Saturday.

  Mayor Brandon Johnson talks about the upcoming Democratic National Convention this August at a Wednesday media preview at the United Center. Marni Pyke/

Pritzker, who’s been mentioned as a future presidential contender, is expected to have a high profile at the convention.

After praising President Joe Biden’s accomplishments amid ripostes of former President Donald Trump, Pritzker noted “the contrast between these two is genuinely stark and I am truly excited to help remind the nation of that in August.”

Does that mean a prime-time speech for the governor?

Democratic National Convention Committee officials said they were still working on the schedule of events and who key speakers might be.

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