Democratic National Convention Postponed to August Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the Democratic Party to push back its presidential convention from July to August.

"In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention," Joe Solmonese, the CEO of the Democratic National Committee's convention committee, said in a news release.

The event was originally scheduled from July 13 to July 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but will now be held the week of August 17. Republicans plan to gather for their convention from August 24 to August 27 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The move comes after former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democratic candidate, said it was hard to imagine the DNC running a convention just more than 100 days away.

"I doubt whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July or early July. I think it's going to have to move into August," Biden said during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night.

Biden expressed the same concern to an MSNBC reporter earlier this week, arguing that officials should be able to conduct safe conventions and elections during the pandemic in the same way they did during times of war.

"We should listen to the scientists," Biden said on Tuesday. "We ought to be able to do what we were able to do it in the middle of the Civil War all the way through to World War II—have Democratic and Republican conventions and primaries and elections and still have public safety. And we're able to do both. But the fact is it may have to be different."

Biden is leading the delegate count in the Democratic primary for president. The former vice president is 300 delegates ahead of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders but still more than 500 away from clinching the nomination. The two are the only remaining candidates after Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard dropped her long-shot campaign late last month.

The United States has now far surpassed China, and every other country in the world, in both confirmed cases and in deaths. As of Thursday afternoon, John Hopkins University reported more than 217,000 cases across the country and 5,150 deaths.

The global health crisis had already caused more than a dozen states to postpone their Democratic presidential primaries until June. Tom Perez, the chairman of the DNC, has urged states not to postpone their primaries and instead expand voting by mail.

DNC announcement milwaukee 2020
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett speaks during a press conference at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 11, 2019, to announce the selection of Milwaukee as the 2020 Democratic National Convention host city. The event has been postponed due to the coronavirus. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images