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Milwaukee misses Democratic convention: 'It is a gut punch'
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Downtown Milwaukee restaurant owner Omar Shaikh envisioned overflowing crowds, packed dining rooms and a big payday when the Democratic National Convention came to town.
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Shaikh, chairman of the VISIT Milwaukee board, also saw the international attention hosting a convention would bring as a chance for the city along the shores of Lake Michigan to show the world how it's evolved from a Rust Belt manufacturing hub to a thriving, diverse, modern community.
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"It would have been a game-changer," he said. "There would have been people everywhere ready to spend, hundreds of millions of dollars coming into our city."
Now, with the convention that begins Monday nearly entirely online due to the coronavirus, Shaikh and Wisconsin Democrats, who a year ago triumphantly hoisted glasses of Milwaukee's finest after winning the competition to host the convention, are crying in their beer.
"It is a gut punch," Shaikh said. "It's almost like you get the call you (won) the lottery, but you can't cash the ticket in."