National convention

Milwaukee and Nashville battle for 2024 Republican National Convention

This is the story of two potential convention towns.

On June 1, the Milwaukee Common Council quickly approved a framework agreement to snag the 2024 Republican National Convention.

Now, more than a month later, Nashville is gearing up for a big vote to bring the political spectacle to Music City.

But it’s unclear whether the Nashville Metro Council will sign a deal.

The back-and-forth of feverish negotiations and political posturing that stems from trying to put a Republican showcase in one of the two Democratic cities is reaching the critical endgame.

The Republican National Committee — which is holding its summer meeting Aug. 2-5 in Chicago — will ultimately decide whether to go to Milwaukee or Nashville.

After:What you need to know about Milwaukee, Nashville and the race to host the 2024 Republican National Convention

The final decision is expected this summer.

Even though the Milwaukee Common Council ultimately approved the framework agreement by a unanimous 13-0 vote, there were some grumblings, especially as political leaders were told the city was facing a deadline. tight so that the winner can be announced by the end of June.

After:Liberal groups call on Milwaukee leaders to reject 2024 Republican National Convention

The agreement between the city of Milwaukee, the RNC and the local host committee outlines things like road closures for the event and security requirements, including the need for Milwaukee to apply for a $50 million security grant. dollars to the federal government.

Downtown Milwaukee Ald. Robert Bauman, a convention critic, criticized Republicans for pushing Milwaukee leaders to quickly approve the deal.

“I think we were just lied to about those deadlines. … Well, it’s June 30, so that hasn’t happened and they’re giving Nashville a lot more time than they’ve given us” , did he declare.

Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, was not concerned that Nashville had had enough time to reach an agreement.

“You know, every city has different ways of operating,” she said. “Each city has different complexities that they have to deal with. So, you know, this process, I knew from the start, would be a long process filled with angst. And that hasn’t turned out to be wrong as we wait to see the decision.”

Williams-Smith said negotiations are ongoing.

She said officials were working to sign framework agreements with the two main venues that would be used if Republicans came to Milwaukee — the Fiserv Forum and the Wisconsin Center.

They are also looking to secure commitments on 16,000 hotel rooms.

The Nashville Metro Council is expected to first pass a framework agreement on Tuesday.

The agreement is similar to that agreed by Milwaukee. Nashville would seek a $50 million federal security grant, and the convention’s organizing committee would cover any security cost overruns as well as all other convention costs.

“Well, we consider Nashville to be one of the friendliest cities in the world,” said Robert Swope, a Nashville council member who is sponsoring the agreement legislation. “We are a non-partisan government. We welcome both the RNC and the DNC.”

The bill would need to pass three readings to be approved, meaning the final vote would take place in early August.

Metro Council member Bob Mendes told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday that he believed there were enough votes to defeat the bill at first reading.

“With polarization in America and recent political violence in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, this convention series carries the greatest risk of political violence since the 1960s,” Mendes said. “Downtown Nashville is packed with tourists during the summer. It’s just not clear why we would be hosting what would be the city’s biggest security event since it was a Union-occupied capital. “during the Civil War.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper, a Democrat, said he had “serious concerns” about the resources needed to host either political party’s national convention in 2024.

In a statement last month to The Tennessean newspaper, the mayor’s senior adviser, TJ Ducklo, said Cooper had “not approved any deal” with the RNC and would only consider signing it after the Metro Council of Nashville “has had the opportunity to thoroughly review and conduct its own due diligence on what is being offered.”

“Our estimates show that it could cost more than $100 million to lock down almost all of downtown,” the statement said, noting that three conventions already scheduled in the period are expected to be canceled.

Tennessee Republicans, led by Governor Bill Les, are pushing for the convention. Earlier this year, the state legislature approved a $25 million tourism grant that could be used for a possible convention.

Scott Golden, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, remained hopeful that a deal could pass through the Nashville council.

“There are questions that I think everyone is still trying to figure out some of the answers to, where does the money come from, where does it go, how does it work,” Golden said.

He said a bipartisan group is pushing for the GOP Convention in 2024 and the Democratic Convention in 2028.

“It’s been a really good effort for everyone to work together to bring the conventions to the city,” he said. “So we hope the city council understands this effort and understands what an opportunity this is for our city.”

Adam Friedman and Cassandra Stephenson of the Tennessean contributed.