Jeramey Jannene

GOP Panel Picks Milwaukee To Host 2024 Convention

Full committee must still vote in early August to approve Milwaukee.

By - Jul 15th, 2022 04:41 pm
Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva

Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva

Milwaukee is poised to be selected as the host of the 2024 Republican National Convention.

On Friday, a site selection committee picked Milwaukee. Now the full Republican National Committee must approve the selection when it meets in early August.

“Today, the Site Selection Committee voted to recommend Milwaukee to host the 2024 Republican National Convention and it is a testament to the forthright and professional behavior embraced by Milwaukee’s city leaders throughout the process,” said RNC senior advisor Richard Walters in a statement.

Milwaukee’s chances grew significantly when a host contract for Nashville, the lone remaining bidder, was withdrawn by its sponsors on the Nashville Metro Council. The City of Milwaukee approved its agreement on June 1.

It would be the second straight presidential election cycle that Milwaukee has secured a convention. But the 2020 Democratic National Convention became a largely virtual affair due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with nominee Joe Biden and almost everyone else not traveling to the city.

The 2020 pitch to the Democrats relied on a brand new Fiserv Forum and a swing state that just went for Republicans. The host committee is relying on a similar strategy this time. 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.

A host committee, led by Donald Trump‘s former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, has worked to land the latest convention. State party vice chair Gerard Randall is serving as host committee secretary and VISIT CEO Peggy Williams-Smith has been a key stakeholder in landing the convention. The host committee, said Randall on Friday, secured a third of the $72 to $75 million necessary to host the convention early in its bidding efforts and now will finalize its commitments from conventional backers that benefit from hosting the convention.

The City of Milwaukee would receive a federal grant of approximately $50 million to cover the security costs of the convention. Part of Milwaukee’s pitch has included that the logistics of preparing for a “National Special Security Event” were already completed for the 2020 event. The host committee is liable for cost overruns related to security.

A number of advocacy groups have urged the city to reject the convention because of Republican stances on immigration, abortion rights, the 2020 election and other issues.

“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 a coalition led by Voces de la Frontera Action in May.

But the Milwaukee Common Council adopted the host agreement after initially appearing poised to add a poison pill. Council members noted that the state’s tax structure creates a structure where the city government sees virtually no direct financial benefit while inheriting any challenges the convention poses.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson and other administration officials have pushed the economic potential of the event.

“It’s about a business decision, not a political one,” Johnson said in May. He reiterated those comments in a press conference Friday evening.

“This isn’t a Democratic decision, or a Republican decision. This is a business decision,” said Johnson. “Just because we are a welcoming city to the Republicans doesn’t mean we are signing up for the Republican Party’s platform.” He pledged to work to re-elect Biden, a Democrat.

State Republican Party chair and Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow said Johnson impressed the selection committee and RNC executive committee during the search process.

Williams-Smith said the convention itself will be short-lived, but that the benefits of so many first-time visitors coming and the resulting media exposure will increase the city’s tourism business long term.

“This is truly one of the most incredible announcements I have been able to make in my lifetime,” said Randall.

Final dates for the convention have yet to be selected.

Similar to the DNC, the RNC is estimated to bring approximately 45,000 visitors and a $200 million economic impact to the city, according to convention boosters. Williams-Smith previously said from a hotel perspective the RNC is easier to host because there are fewer voting delegates. The 2020 DNC was to have delegate coalitions staying as far away as the Chicago suburbs.

But work remains to be done on the hotel front. “We are still in the process of gathering memorandums of understanding,” said Williams-Smith of the room commitment process.

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Categories: Politics, Weekly

10 thoughts on “GOP Panel Picks Milwaukee To Host 2024 Convention”

  1. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Congratulations, Milwaukee.

    Roll out the red carpet and treat your Republican guests like family… Please offer every convention guest the opportunity to charter a boat on the greatest trout and salmon fishery in the world, Lake Michigan… They will talk about their visit to Milwaukee on the Lake for the rest of their lives

  2. B says:

    Hopefully this leads to the state Leg throwing the county a bone – Fair Deal for Milwaukee County? A guy can dream!

  3. Polaris says:

    While the GOP is not my party it’s clear the better city won out on this. Way to go for leaders coming together despite political differences. Nashville and Tennessee couldn’t muster this.

    One of my favorite side shows in all this was the bragging rights opinion pieces of Milwaukee Business Journal editor, Mark Kass, and Nashville Business Journal editor, Eric Snyder. Snyder’s whiplash-inducing pieces from “Why Nashville Will Land the 2024 GOP Convention”:

    to “Thanks, But No Thanks, RNC”:

    Is a real master class in buffoonery and breathtaking the art of walking back bravado. Boo-hoo, we didn’t want you anyway…LOL!

  4. julia o'connor says:

    Something like holding your nose after inviting someone to take a dump in your living room, n’est ce pas?

  5. NieWiederKrieg says:

    @julia o’connor –

    Remember Julia, that we all held our noses when we voted for Joe Biden for President… 92% of Americans under 30 years old don’t want Biden to run again… Biden’s popularity rating is down to 29% and continues to drop like a rock…

    Biden had two emergency brain surgeries because aneurysms burst inside his head… The doctors removed the top of Biden’s head twice and they didn’t think he was going to function after the surgeries… Biden’s eyes filled up with blood while he campaigned for President in 2020… Joe Biden’s brain is falling apart and he is mentally impaired and handicapped… Biden shakes hands with invisible people in public… His brain is rapidly dying…

    And the only things Biden has done for us is start more wars, kill women and children, and spend trillions of our dollars on death and destruction all over the world.

  6. Mingus says:

    During the convention, Milwaukee will be infested with insurrectionists, , QAnon conspiracists, antivaxxers, seditionists, militias, and politicians who love totalitarian rulers. You can be sure delegates like Ron Disantis and Ted Cruz will be publicly trashing the city during the convention. We need to remember that Milwaukee is the kind of city that most Republicans hate.

  7. bigb_andb says:

    @NieWieder sighting fake statistics.

    Picking Milwaukee is Republican Trolling. State Republicans blame Milwaukee for all of Wisconsin’s problems.

    Walker did it for his 8years as Governor. Walker moved to Milwaukee after losing reelection bid.

  8. frank a schneiger says:

    Milwaukee’s quest to host the 2024 Republican convention would seem to be based on a set basic assumptions, ones obviously not shared by the many other cities that took a pass. The first assumption is that there will be substantial economic benefits to the city and the metro area. Second, that the convention will be an opportunity to “showcase” Milwaukee. Third, that the Republican Party is a “normal” political party, and that this will be a “normal” convention in a relatively stable political environment. And, finally, that Wisconsin Republicans – elected, “the white WOW base,” and the Party’s plutocratic financers and their organizations like Bradley and WILL– share the interest in showcasing Milwaukee.

    As Mark Twain said, “The art of prophesy is very difficult, especially with respect to the future.” These assumptions are in a sense a prophesy or prediction. But, here is another prediction: each of these assumptions will be proven to be wrong.

    The economic benefit will be far smaller than expected, in large part because of the other assumptions.

    Milwaukee will not be showcased. The likelihood of large-scale political violence aside, Republicans, including Wisconsin ones, will use the opportunity to trash Milwaukee, a city with a Black Mayor, A Black County Executive, a “liberal” history, and high levels of poverty and violence. Fox News and the candidates, whoever they are, will not be able to pass up an opportunity like this.

    The Republican Party is no longer a “normal” party, capable of – or interested in – managing a normal convention. It is now a far-right semi-cult, with a pathological leader, an armed wing of organized, racist militias, and a fundamental need to constantly focus on scapegoats. It is not realistic to think that these groups will not be a presence in Milwaukee, or that they will not come prepared for violence.

  9. kaygeeret says:

    frank a schneiger says it all.

    Thank you sir!

  10. ringo muldano says:

    The rCons can $uck It!

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