Don’t be surprised if it’s hard to book a hotel room — or even eat at a restaurant — downtown this week.
The Texas Democrats are coming to town.
Not just a few of them.
As many as 9,000 may converge on downtown, bringing with them a multimillion dollar economic impact, for the state’s largest every-other-year Democratic political convention.
It will be at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Delegates and their guests are expected to fill local hotels, restaurants and parking lots and garages during the convention that runs Thursday through Saturday.
“We’re excited to welcome Democrats from across the state to join us in Fort Worth,” said U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, who is serving as chairman of the gathering. “Our convention is truly as big as Texas.”
With the convention comes an economic impact that could tip the scales at more than $7 million for everything from hotel rooms, food, transportation, taxes and more, according to Visit Fort Worth, formerly known as the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The estimate comes from looking at the projected number of attendees and the number of hotel nights needed during the convention. Delegates are expected to need more than 6,500 hotel rooms throughout the convention.
This is the first time the Texas Democratic Party has held its convention in Fort Worth since 2006.
The Republican Party of Texas, which held its convention in San Antonio last week, held back-to-back conventions in Fort Worth in 2012 and 2014.
So yes, downtown will be more crowded than normal this week, particularly anything near the convention center.
But Democrats say this city — the largest urban area in Texas that remains reliably Republican — plays an important role in the party's plan.
“The future of the Texas Democratic Party goes right through Tarrant County and Fort Worth,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said. “This election, everything is at stake — our health care, a living wage, and educational opportunity for every child.
“This is about a Texas where everyone has a fair shot to get ahead and the battle for our future starts right here in Fort Worth.”