GOP presidential debate puts Milwaukee in the spotlight

Political Beat

Trump and Carson at the Milwaukee debate.

Milwaukee was at the center of the American political universe earlier this month when the latest Republican Party presidential debates were held at the Milwaukee Theatre in downtown Milwaukee.

Trump and Carson at the Milwaukee debate.
Trump and Carson at the Milwaukee debate.

The debate was hosted by the Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal. The introduction to the broadcast included numerous shots of Milwaukee.

The event brought hordes of politicians, their staff members, news media and protesters to Milwaukee. The crowd attending the debates filled the 4,100-seat Milwaukee Theatre and most of the news media watched from the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena next door.

VISIT Milwaukee estimated the debate had a $5 million to $10 million economic impact on Milwaukee and filled about 3,500 hotel rooms.

Businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) took part in the main debate. About 13.5 million people watched that debate, according to Nielsen estimates.

A preliminary debate, featuring candidates with lower poll numbers, included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Penn.).

The GOP debates in Milwaukee focused on economic issues.

A Democratic Party presidential debate will also be held in Milwaukee, on Feb. 11. That debate will be hosted by PBS. A specific venue has not been announced.

The Democratic presidential debate in Milwaukee will take place just two days after the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9. The Iowa caucus will be on Feb. 1. The Nevada caucuses and South Carolina primaries are held in late February.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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