WORCESTER — More than 6,000 Democrats from across Massachusetts will be in Worcester this weekend for the state party’s 2018 convention.
The annual event, which is set begin Friday afternoon at the DCU Center, will allow Massachusetts Democratic leaders, organizers and delegates the opportunity to hear from and endorse a slate of candidates for various offices.
Unlike recent Massachusetts Democratic Party conventions, the 2018 gathering will be split into two days.
Uncontested nominees for statewide offices are slated to address convention-goers Friday night, while those facing Democratic challengers will deliver remarks on Saturday, according to organizers.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, is among the statewide candidates set to headline the Friday night portion of the event, her office confirmed this week.
Warren, a national figure in Democratic politics and oft-rumored 2020 presidential contender, faces challenges from at least three Republican opponents in what is expected to be one of the top-watched races in the country this year.
Aside from Warren, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester; Auditor Suzanne Bump; Treasurer Deb Goldberg; and Attorney General Maura Healey are also expected to address convention attendees on Friday.
On Saturday, the focus is expected turn to the governor’s race, with delegates set to hear from and vote on endorsing either Jay Gonzalez, a former health insurance executive and state budget chief under former Gov. Deval Patrick, or Bob Massie, an environmentalist and entrepreneur — Democrats looking to unseat incumbent Republican Charlie Baker this fall.
Gonzalez and Massie, who also spoke at the 2017 Massachusetts Democratic Party convention, have both expressed optimism that they will receive the minimum support needed from delegates to officially qualify for the Sept. 4 Democratic primary.
Other speakers set to take the convention stage on Saturday include U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who is not up for re-election in 2018; Senate President Harriette Chandler and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, as well as Democratic candidates running for lieutenant governor and secretary of state.
The convention will determine what candidates appear on the 2018 ballot and who among them receive the party’s endorsement. A candidate must get at least 15 percent of delegates’ votes to appear on the party’s primary ballot and at least 50 percent of the vote to get the party’s formal endorsement
Delegates to the convention are elected by local ward and town committees and also include party office-holders.
Organizers noted that more than 6,200 delegates are expected to attend the 2018 convention, including 3,213 who were elected, 838 alternates, 890 add-ons and 1,279 ex-officio. About a quarter of those attendees will be first-time delegates, according to officials.