Jeramey Jannene

Advocacy Groups Urge City, Reject RNC

Milwaukee a finalist for Republican convention. Mayor calls it a 'business decision, not a political one.'

By - May 24th, 2022 03:36 pm
Security fencing outside the Wisconsin Center for the DNC. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Security fencing outside the Wisconsin Center for the DNC. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A group of labor and immigrant rights groups have a clear message for local leaders: “the Republican National Convention is not welcome in Milwaukee.”

Milwaukee is one of two finalists to host the 2024 political convention, and a resolution is pending before the Common Council that would establish a contract framework between the Republican National Committee and City of Milwaukee. A council committee is scheduled to review the agreement Wednesday

But Voces de la Frontera Action, Power to the Polls WI, Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Never Again is Now and SEIU want to halt that potential approval.

“The Republican Party, both nationally and in Wisconsin, has become an organization that supports White Supremacists, the violent attempted coup at the US Capitol to overthrow a democratic election, and continues to engineer new ways to undermine fair and democratic elections,” said the five groups in a press release issued Tuesday morning.

“The recent hate crime in Buffalo is one of many escalated acts of violent hate inspired by their ‘great replacement’ rhetoric, fear mongering, and harmful policies, and is yet another reminder of why we must not normalize the far right that has captured the Republican Party,” said the organizations. “We take seriously the challenge to view issues through the twin lenses of ‘equity and race’; welcoming the current version of the Republican Party to Milwaukee does not meet that challenge. It undermines it.”

But Mayor Cavalier Johnson disagreed.

“I understand some of those concerns, and I think that just because the city of Milwaukee would play host to the Republican National Convention doesn’t mean that individuals, elected or not, are signing up for the platform of the Republican Party,” said Johnson after a press conference Tuesday.

He said the event would create a “positive loop” of boosting tourism and creating jobs. The mayor said the event would be a boon for workers in the hospitality sector.

“It’s about a business decision, not a political one,” said Johnson.

VISIT Milwaukee is leading the city’s bidding effort, with a decision expected to come in this summer. Reince Priebus, former White House chief of staff under President Donald Trump, is the head of the local host committee. Nashville is the only remaining competing bidder.

Under Mayor Tom Barrett, the city was heavily involved in securing the 2020 Democratic National Convention, but the event proved to be an almost entirely virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the DNC, the City of Milwaukee was responsible for security, permitting and facilitating road and street closures. A federal grant, awarded on a reimbursement basis, covered the city’s security expenses which, pre-pandemic, were estimated to reach $50 million.

Similar to the DNC, the RNC is estimated to bring approximately 45,000 visitors and a $200 million economic impact to the city.

Politico reported that Milwaukee was the “frontrunner” during a two-day period in February when Republican National Committee members were in Milwaukee for a site visit. But the committee hadn’t visited Nashville at that point. The political news website reported in April that the loser for the 2024 convention bidding process could be quickly awarded the 2028 convention as a result of a party rule change.

The 2020 pitch to the Democrats relied on a brand new Fiserv Forum and a swing state that just went for Republicans. VISIT Milwaukee, which is leading the bidding effort this time around, can rely on a similar strategy. A relatively new arena (2018), a $420 million Wisconsin Center expansion scheduled to be completed by early 2024 and a state that most recently was won by a Democrat. The compact footprint of the convention center and arena, centered on Westown, is also seen as a positive. That there is an existing security plan from the DNC is also viewed as an asset, because it is reusable.

Categories: Politics, Weekly

4 thoughts on “Advocacy Groups Urge City, Reject RNC”

  1. nickzales says: Okay, leave politics out of it. Studies of political conventions going back to 1970 show that they do not have a positive economic impact. The proponents typically exaggerate the benefits and discount the costs. Read the article, and look at the hyperlinked studies within it. Then make up your own mind.

  2. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Hosting the 2024 Republican National a great opportunity for Milwaukee.

    Welcome the GOP with open arms… Make them as comfortable as possible and treat them like royalty… And when they go back to their home districts and Washington D.C., they will tell the whole world that Milwaukee is the nicest, friendliest, kindest, most beautiful place to visit in the United States of America.

  3. bigb_andb says:


    Scott Walker as Governor blamed Milwaukee for every problem this state had. When he lost in 2018, he moved to Milwaukee right on the hop line.

    Milwaukee hosting Republicans is a waste of time. Republicans are only coming to throw shade on the Democrats.

  4. Thomas Sepllman says:

    Why would Milwaukee want to enter into a agreement with the Republican Party that is not stable itself? Why would Milwaukee want to risk what is left of our good name to the likes of FOX News who would report any incident as negatively as humanly possible. Just a little foresight might save a very great deal of negative press. The police are Republicans and so are they to be trusted?? How it all feeds together will not be GOOD.

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