MILWAUKEE (CNN/CBS 58) — The Republican National Committee has limited the sites of its 2024 national convention to two cities, Milwaukee and Nashville, according to two people familiar with the decision.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel flew to Milwaukee on Wednesday for an official site visit, according to one of those people.
Two other suitors, Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh, have been ruled out, the person added. Salt Lake City’s main arena will be under renovation and unavailable in 2024, the person said.
“The RNC is very grateful for the overwhelming interest and competitive bids from cities across the country, particularly Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh, to host the 2024 Republican National Convention,” RNC senior adviser Richard Walters, in a statement. “We look forward to entering the final stages of the selection process and putting together an incredible convention for our party.”
Politico first reported the two finalists.
While Nashville is the capital of Tennessee, a reliable Republican state, Milwaukee’s selection would put the 2024 GOP convention in a key state. Republican candidate Donald Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016 but lost it in 2020.
“I was skeptical that Milwaukee was really a strong contender, because the logic of coming here seemed relatively weak to me,” University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor emeritus Mordecai Lee told CBS 58.
The logic, Lee explained, is that if the RNC comes to Milwaukee, people who voted against Trump in 2020 might vote for the Republican nominee this time around.
“It’s unbelievable to say, but it’s true that the presidential candidate who wins Wisconsin will become president,” Lee said.
Lee said picking Milwaukee as host would be a political decision, picking Nashville would be a financial decision.
“Nashville made an incredibly attractive financial offer. Milwaukee’s financial offer is average. It’s in the stadium. It’s not great,” Lee said.
RNC site selectors met with Mayor Cavalier Johnson during their visit on Wednesday.
Johnson’s office told CBS 58 the mayor is supportive of the effort and looks forward to the economic impact the convention will bring.
Visit Milwaukee projects the RNC would bring about 45,000 people to Milwaukee, leaving $200 million in economic impact, according to communications director Claire Koenig.
“We’re just thrilled with our chances,” Koenig said.
Milwaukee was the planned site of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. But due to the pandemic, Democrats have scrapped nearly all events in that city, opting for a “virtual” convention. The 2020 RNC, meanwhile, was held partly in Charlotte, North Carolina, although the state’s Covid-19 restrictions limited some of the events. Primetime speeches at this convention were instead delivered in Washington, DC.
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