Milwaukee Reportedly One of Four RNC Finalists
After DNC was largely canceled, Republicans seriously considering Milwaukee.
Milwaukee is one of four finalists to host the 2024 Republican National Convention.
Other cities still in contention include Nashville, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.
Milwaukee has a successful pitch to build on. A coalition of civic and political leaders successfully won the 2020 Democratic National Convention. The city’s pitch included a new arena in Fiserv Forum, new downtown hotels and a key state that Democrats lost for the first time in decades.
And despite the fact that the pandemic made the event effectively virtual, the city and its partners have already done the prep work to coordinate how to host the event. That includes how to secure the event’s perimeter, how to coordinate hotels and transportation and where to host auxiliary events.
In addition to the preparedness factor, the city has another amenity to pitch: an expanded convention center. The $420 million Wisconsin Center expansion is scheduled to be completed by early 2023.
In October, VISIT Milwaukee CEO Peggy Williams-Smith and then-Mayor Tom Barrett took the first steps to land the convention. They flew to Washington D.C. to pitch the city to the Republican National Committee. Gerard Randall also participated. Barrett was already in the capitol city as part of his ambassadorship confirmation process.
“The Republican National Committee is grateful for and appreciative of the overwhelming interest from cities across the country to host the 2024 Republican National Convention. We’ll continue the process, review bids, and communicate with potential hosts to hear more about what their cities have to offer,” Richard Walters, the RNC’s chief of staff, told Politico.
The 2020 convention was expected to cost approximately $80 million to host, with an estimated $200 million economic impact. A federal grant of $50 million would cover much of the hosting cost related to security, while private donors and sponsors would provide the rest of the capital.
The city is also courting the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Barrett, who has since resigned to become U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, said in 2020 he didn’t expect the Democrats to automatically give Milwaukee the event without another competitive bidding process.
Republicans also canceled their 2020 event in Charlotte, with President Donald Trump using the White House for his speech. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris used the convention center in Biden’s home state of Delaware.