Jeramey Jannene

Nashville Rejects RNC, Milwaukee Now Lone Bidder

An official vote to grant Milwaukee the Republican convention expected Aug. 5.

By - Aug 3rd, 2022 10:59 am
Milwaukee Skyline. Photo from Milwaukee Downtown.

Milwaukee Skyline. Photo from Milwaukee Downtown.

The Republic National Committee hasn’t formally awarded Milwaukee its 2024 political convention yet, but it now lacks any other options.

Tuesday evening the Nashville Metro Council rejected a contract agreement required to host the convention. The move leaves Milwaukee as the only bidder. The national committee is expected to formally vote on Aug. 5 to grant the Republican National Convention (RNC) to Milwaukee.

A Republican site selection committee voted on July 15 to recommend Milwaukee be selected as the host, and local officials celebrated the news with a Friday evening press conference.

“This is truly one of the most incredible announcements I have been able to make in my lifetime,” said state Republican party vice chair and host committee secretary Gerard Randall.

But Nashville was still lingering in the background. On July 5, the contract’s sponsor withdrew the proposal, but pledged to reintroduce it. That came to a head Tuesday evening when the council met.

The Nashville council voted 22 to 10 (with 3 abstaining) to reject the proposed agreement, with members citing safety concerns. The contract requires the host city to obtain an approximately $50 million federal security grant and outlines the city’s responsibilities to the host committee and national committee.

Milwaukee approved its agreement in June, though not without some council members initially balking and temporarily adding what was widely viewed as a poison pill.

Behind the approval process for both contracts was the potential for state Republican interference in the Democratic-led cities. But at the local level, the outcome was much different.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper reportedly didn’t lobby council members to approve the agreement, and publicly expressed safety concerns earlier in the process.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson has long supported hosting the convention and was praised at multiple points in the process by Wisconsin Republicans for his work landing it.

“This isn’t a Democratic decision, or a Republican decision. This is a business decision,” said Johnson on July 15. “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.

And while Johnson has also pledged to rebuild the city’s relationship with the state, Milwaukee will see little to no direct revenue benefit because of the state restrictions on local revenue sources. The city does not have its own sales, hotel or income tax, an issue raised by multiple council members during the approval process.

The discussion of potential violence and other Republican stances has made its way into the Milwaukee debate.

“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.

Business leaders have, however, championed the potential impact of the convention. Carnevor steakhouse owner Omar Shaikh, the former VISIT Milwaukee board chair, has used examples of the expected windfalls his staff would receive as a positive benefit.

VISIT president and CEO Peggy Williams-Smith said in July that 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.

Similar to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which Milwaukee won, then saw it effectively canceled because of the pandemic, the RNC is expected to bring approximately 45,000 visitors to the city.

Final dates for the convention have yet to be selected.

Categories: Politics, Weekly

One thought on “Nashville Rejects RNC, Milwaukee Now Lone Bidder”

  1. gerrybroderick says:

    This should provide a wonderful opportunity for a corresponding convention of the American Psychiatric Association.

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