National convention

Milwaukee is among the final four to host the 2024 Republican National Convention

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — Milwaukee could once again take center stage in politics in 2024.

According to the Republican National Committee, the brewing city has been shortlisted to host the Republican National Convention (RNC) in 2024.

The RNC announced it had narrowed the bottom four to Milwaukee, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City. Committee staff will travel to the four finalists to confirm that these cities are viable and narrow the selection down to three cities.

Milwaukee submitted its bid to host the RNC in December. The app highlighted the city’s entertainment venues, culinary scene, Fiserv Forum and more.

Milwaukee was ready to pull out all the stops to host the Democratic National Convention in 2020, but that event was scaled back and became mostly virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most Milwaukee leaders couldn’t be more excited to host another major political convention. The scaled-down 2020 Democratic National Convention did not bring the revenue hoped for by city leaders.

VISIT Milwaukee estimates the RNC could yield between $180 million and $210 million in economic impact, plus national attention and political power.

“Any major political convention will present an opportunity to put Milwaukee more on the map, much like we saw last year with the Milwaukee Bucks,” Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson said.

Two of the final cities are in battleground states, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and the other two are in solid red states, Tennessee and Utah.

“The logic of coming here is purely political: will it help win Wisconsin in the next presidential election?” said Mordecai Lee, professor emeritus at UW-Milwaukee.

In the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Wisconsin was decided by less than 30,000 votes. Policy experts say a convention could make the difference in 2024.

“It would be a statewide event. Every television station in Wisconsin would send the team here,” Lee said.

But Alderman Bob Bauman has some concerns.

“I’m just not sure Milwaukee has the resources — hotel resources in particular — to handle a major convention,” he said.

In 2020, DNC delegations were supposed to stay in hotels as far apart as Chicagoland or Madison.

Moreover, Bauman points out, Milwaukee is largely a liberal city run by Democrats.

“There’s a whole controversy: If we have a convention where Donald Trump is the leader and all that, I guess the process will work itself out,” he said.

But VISIT Milwaukee expects the city to come together for a chance like this.

President and CEO Peggy Williams-Smith said the city has added several amenities since the DNC, from the new convention center downtown to new stages on the grounds of Summerfest.

“They’ve seen our offer. They know where our hotels are, and we were in the top four, so they’re obviously interested in what Milwaukee has to offer,” she said.

RNC staff will travel to all four cities to confirm that they will make good hosts.

Meanwhile, Williams-Smith said VISIT Milwaukee will submit a bid for the 2024 DNC if the city receives an RFP.