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Report: Milwaukee competing against Nashville for 2024 RNC

RNC chairwoman met with Milwaukee's Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson earlier this week

Milwaukee skyline
This image taken with a drone shows the Milwaukee skyline at sunset Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Photo

Milwaukee is getting closer to playing host for the Republican National Convention in 2024. Nashville is the only other city still in the running, Politico reported Friday.

The convention’s site selection committee voted last week to remove Salt Lake City from competition, according to Politico’s reporting.

RNC Senior Advisor Richard Walters said in a statement the RNC “is very appreciative of the overwhelming interest and competitive bids from cities across the country,” name-checking Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh’s now-dismissed proposals for the convention.

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“We look forward to entering the final stages of the selection process and delivering an incredible convention for our Party,” Walters said.

At a mayoral forum Wednesday evening, Milwaukee’s Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson mentioned briefly that he’d met with RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel earlier in the day.

The city has become an increasingly prominent contender for the convention since it submitted its hosting bid in December. In January, Politico reported Milwaukee had become a finalist in the process.

Last month, the site selection committee toured Milwaukee as preparation for the convention continued. At the time, Politico reported a source with knowledge of the planning conversations said the city was the “frontrunner.”

Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of the city’s tourism bureau Visit Milwaukee, said in an interview in January hosting the convention would have an estimated economic impact in Milwaukee of $180 to $210 million. She said the event would also be an opportunity to highlight the state as a whole.

“Every four years, you have a chance to showcase two cities and show how they represent America,” Williams-Smith said at the time. “I think that there’s no better city to represent America than Milwaukee.”

She said the city has “something to offer everyone.”

Unlike Tennessee, which typically votes Republican, Wisconsin will be a battleground state in 2024, with both parties vying for votes. Democratic President Joe Biden only won Wisconsin in 2020 by 20,682 votes.

Milwaukee was set to host the Democratic National Convention in 2020, having beat out Houston and Miami in the decision, but that convention ended up being mostly virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WPR previously reported the DNC would have had an estimated economic impact of $200 million and brought around 50,000 people to the city.

Former Vice President Joe Biden accepted the party’s presidential nomination remotely, rather than traveling to Milwaukee.

Most of the 2020 RNC, which was scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, also took place virtually.

Politico reports representatives from Milwaukee and Nashville will travel to Washington next week for final pitches to the RNC’s site selection committee before it makes its choice.