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Bernard Schoenburg

Biden appearance boosts interest in Democrats' event

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s planned visit to Springfield on Aug. 16 is proving so popular that plans have changed to accommodate more people.

“Logistically, it’s a far more challenging event than we anticipated,” said Toby Trimmer, spokesman for the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association, which has Biden keynoting its brunch that day at the Crowne Plaza, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway.

The brunch kicks off the Illinois State Fair’s Democrat Day.

Trimmer said the configuration on the hotel’s main floor ballroom has already been planned for 2,500 people, and tickets for that room sold out in a week after it was announced in June.

But because of demand, there is room for another 700 people on the hotel’s second floor. There will be “less-formal programming” there, Trimmer said, but speakers including Biden are expected to be there.

There will also be a video link to bring some speeches from the first floor to the second floor, he said.

As of Wednesday, “a couple hundred” $50 tickets for the second floor were still available, he said.

Members of the general public who order tickets at www.ILDCCA.org can pick them up starting at 7 a.m. Aug. 16.

According to the website, the “pre-program” will include breakfast and a visit from Biden and Democratic state constitutional officers and candidates.

“People should be prepared for heightened security,” Trimmer said, given that the former vice president will be there.

Trimmer noted the event comes close to exactly 10 years since then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama introduced Biden at the Old State Capitol as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election. That Springfield event was on Aug. 23, 2008.

After the brunch on Aug. 16, Democrats holding or seeking statewide offices plan to gather at the Budweiser tent at the Illinois State Fairgrounds to hold a meet and greet with fairgoers.

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