National convention

Milwaukee prepares the best pitch for the 2024 Republican National Convention

Officials trying to lure the 2024 Republican National Convention to Milwaukee say they are working with a projected $65 million budget to stage the event and have already secured at least $10 million to $20 million in pledges.

“We are pursuing this purely for the economic health of our city,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, which helps lead the effort.

The race to host the event is entering its final stages with three cities vying: Milwaukee, Salt Lake City and Nashville.

Pittsburgh, which originally made the cut four finalists, is no longer in contention.

The Republican National Committee site selection committee is scheduled to travel to Milwaukee as early as next week. A decision on which city will host the presidential nominating convention is expected to be confirmed by the summer.

RNC senior adviser Richard Walters said it was “premature to announce anyone as a favourite”.

“We look forward to continuing a bidding process and putting on an incredible convention,” he said in a statement.

During last week’s RNC Winter Meeting in Salt Lake City, a delegation from Milwaukee hosted a reception that included things like a beer garden, fish fries and club selections from Wisconsin supper.

And yes, there were three Harleys in the room.

“Ours was a great presentation that let many in attendance know that Milwaukee is ready to host a wonderful gathering in 2024,” said Gerard Randall, vice chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin who helps coordinate the bid. .

Top GOP donors Ted Kellner and Kathryn (Murph) Burke were part of the delegation, according to a photo tweeted by Milwaukee restaurant owner Omar Shaikh.

Other members of the delegation included Timothy Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce; Marty Brooks, president and CEO of Wisconsin Center District; and Kristine Hillmer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.

Milwaukee organizers are looking to portray the city as ready for the challenge. The city has won the right to host Democrats in 2020, but the convention has been significantly curtailed by the pandemic.

Officials now plan to use much of the same footprint that Democrats outlined in 2020. The Fiserv forum would be the main hub with an expanded Wisconsin center serving as a key facility for party meetings. UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena and the Miller High Life Theater are also important parts of the bid.

Randall said there was sufficient hotel capacity for delegates and their guests to stay “within a short radius of the Fiserv Forum”.

In 2020, Democrats, who have more delegates, had planned to house state delegations in hotels as far apart as Rosemont, Illinois, outside of O’Hare International Airport.

“I think we’re able to make the case that these delegates won’t have a significant distance to travel from the convention hall to their hotels,” Randall said. “I think the other issue that’s clearly on their minds is whether or not we can provide enough entertainment spaces.”

Randall said the city’s restaurants, museums and Summerfest grounds can do more than accommodate and entertain delegates.

Last month, a small group of RNC officials and advisers traveled to the city to review the plans, meeting at the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons.

During one session, they heard from Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, who chairs the state’s Republican Party, and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, a Democrat.

“We talked about what we can provide as a city (and county) for the RNC,” Crowley said.

He said Milwaukee and the surrounding area were capable of hosting the event.

“I think everyone understands what happened in 2020,” Crowley said. “We’ve done a lot of work. When you think about the security perimeter, what we needed to do, what needed to be available, the companies that stepped up. It’s really showing and making the case, we don’t want to not only that, we’re ready for that.”

Milwaukee also said it wanted another photo to welcome Democrats in 2024, expressing interest in the convention after invitations were sent to 20 cities by the Democratic National Committee.

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