RNC to formally announce selection of 2024 convention site after one city withdrew its bid

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The 2024 Republican presidential candidate will be formally nominated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The RNC chose Milwaukee as the site of its 2024 convention and the announcement is expected to be made on Friday. Perhaps it will be made from Dallas, the city hosting CPAC Texas this weekend. Most likely it will come from Chicago where the national party committee is holding the final session of its annual summer meeting.

Milwaukee and Nashville were the final two cities in contention for the 2024 convention. It turned out that Nashville didn’t want the convention so Milwaukee it is. The governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, a Republican, wanted Nashville to be the site of the convention but the Democrats who run Nashville thought otherwise. Even with a “unique” sweetener to the deal, Nashville pulled out of consideration. And, the timing of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobb v Jackson Women’s Health plays a part in the decision, too.

Mayor John Cooper’s administration negotiated for months over details related to security, staffing and costs associated with hosting the high-profile event. As the field narrowed down to just Milwaukee and Nashville — Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City were also contenders — state Republicans continued to sweeten the deal, including pledges of state money and guarantees that the city would be reimbursed for all costs. Last week, sources close to the deal called it “unique” among convention agreements.

One last hurdle remained, though. As the administration’s legal and finance arms signed off on the agreement, a bill was rushed to the Metro Council ahead of a June 24 noon deadline. The ordinance, if passed, would codify the city’s interest in a formal way ahead of an Aug. 5 decision by the Republican National Committee.

But before the legislation could reach the Council chambers, its hopes of passage took a massive hit: The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision was handed down, overturning a half-century of abortion rights and taking a torch to the emotions of Democrats. A joint statement by state Democratic and Republican party leaders endorsing efforts to seek both conventions was lost in a haze of angry comments on social media.

Democrats in Nashville lost their ever lovin’ minds over the Supreme Court’s ruling, as Democrats did everywhere, so there was no way that Democrat politicians in Nashville were going to vote in favor of the RNC’s convention being held there.

Governor Bill Lee and others worked for more than a year to being the RNC convention to Nashville. Democrats are pursuing an opportunity to host the DNC convention in 2028. Months ago, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon and a group of longtime Democrat leaders made inquiries into bringing the Democrats’ convention to Nashville in 2028.

Mayor Cooper’s relationship with Governor Lee and state Republican officials is complicated. Cooper, a Democrat, has carved out a working relationship with Lee and Republican state officials because it benefits Nashville. He isn’t stupid. In return for state funding for pet projects, Lee asked Cooper for help securing the Republican National Convention.

On the record, Cooper’s administration has gone to lengths to underscore cooperation between city and state. When a story from a national outlet included a perceived threat to the city’s budget if the city didn’t work to bring the RNC to Nashville, a spokesperson quickly moved to squash the issue.

“We value our relationship with our state partners and appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with them on our shared priorities, including infrastructure, transportation and other initiatives that provide more resources for Nashville neighborhoods,” says TJ Ducklo, Cooper’s communications chief.

Yes, that is the same TJ Ducklo who resigned from the Biden administration. He was the deputy press secretary who was accused of threatening a reporter. Perhaps he has matured a little in his professional life.

Nashville’s common council nixed the RNC convention on Tuesday but Milwaukee is embracing the opportunity.

It was a different story in Milwaukee, where leaders in the Democratic stronghold joined together with Republican power brokers, including former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, to make the pitch for hosting the convention. Priebus, a former White House chief of staff under former President Donald Trump and Wisconsin state GOP chairman, leads the local committee for the convention.

Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016, but lost to President Joe Biden by a nearly identical margin in 2020.

Wisconsin could determine who wins in 2024, while Tennessee has not backed a Democrat for president since 1996. But choosing Milwaukee is in line with recent Republican choices for the convention. For two decades, Republicans have placed their nominating convention in swing states – North Carolina, Ohio and Florida.

The DNC held its convention in Milwaukee in 2020.