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First GOP presidential debate to be held in Milwaukee

The party's presidential primary will be held in the same city hosting its convention

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel speaking at a committee meating
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel speaks at the committee’s winter meeting in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

Republicans hoping to become the next president of the United States will meet in Milwaukee for their first official debate.

The Republican National Committee will hold its first presidential primary debate in the city in August. The debates committee made the decision in a vote Thursday, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told members in an email.

Wisconsin’s largest city will host the Republican National Convention in 2024. City leaders had lobbied hard to win that event — expected to draw 50,000 people — hoping to build its tourism industry.

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During a visit to Milwaukee earlier this month, McDaniel said the party would likely hold a debate in the city. Speaking at that time, McDaniel alluded to Wisconsin’s importance as a swing state. Wins in the state were key to capturing the presidency both for President Joe Biden and for his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.