National convention

Houston First is pushing to host the 2028 Republican National Convention

The Houston First Corporation is seeking the rights of the city of Houston to host the 2028 Republican National Convention, according to a letter written by Houston’s first president and CEO, Michael Heckman.

The letter outlines details of an offer the public company hopes to finalize at Tuesday’s city council meeting. Heckman writes in his letter that the push is part of Houston First’s efforts to “aggressively pursue large, iconic events that can increase Houston’s destination appeal” and bring tourism and attention to the city.

“HFC is currently finalizing Houston’s bid to host the 2028 Republican National Convention,” Heckman writes. “Events like these don’t just benefit downtown, they benefit hotels, restaurants and other businesses in the city, because their size means attendees will be spread across Houston.”

In his letter, Heckman notes that events of this size sometimes require an “affirmative statement of support” from cities as part of the package securing hosting privileges. It asks city council members to approve a resolution pledging to provide services to the Republican National Committee and form a host committee that will provide “leadership and fundraising” for the event.

“A significant portion of federal funding is provided to the host city,” Heckman writes. “And it’s likely that federal assets set up specifically for the event will be left in Houston for use by the appropriate public safety agencies when the event is over.”

The letter ends with Heckman urging council members to support the 2028 Republican National Convention if the city is chosen as the host. Led by Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner, the city of Houston recently hosted an event that served as a flashpoint between protesters and supporters of a major conservative-leaning convention.

In May, just days after an assault rifle sniper murdered 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Houston hosted the 2022 NRA Annual Meeting at the George R Brown Convention Center. The three-day event saw verbal clashes between gun reform protesters and conference attendees, as well as the presence of a white nationalist group known as the Proud Boys.

Houston last hosted the Republican National Convention in August 1992 inside the Astrodome. At the 1992 convention, political commentator and then-Republican primary candidate Pat Buchanan called on party members to wage a “culture war” against non-Republicans for “the soul of America”.

“As [National Guardsmen] We’ve taken back the streets of Los Angeles, block by block, my friends, we need to take back our cities, take back our culture and take back our country,” Buchanan intoned.

The Republican National Committee will likely vote on its recommendation for the 2028 host city by the end of this year, according to an April report from Politico. Mayor Turner’s officer was making a comment when reached for a statement Monday afternoon.