Report: Milwaukee makes RNC’s short list of contenders for 2024 convention

Milwaukee skyline
Milwaukee skyline

Last updated on January 10th, 2022 at 01:09 pm

Milwaukee stands among four cities in the running to host the 2024 Republican National Convention.

Politico reported early Friday morning that the Republican National Committee has narrowed its list of potential host cities for the 2024 convention to Milwaukee, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City.

Citing “a person familiar with the search process,” the article says party officials will visit each of the locations in the coming months before finalizing a decision in the spring.

Asked to confirm the news, Jeff Flemming, communications director for the mayor’s office, said, “Any announcement about the convention selection process must come from the Republican National Committee.”

Milwaukee Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson issued the following statement: “Milwaukee eagerly welcomes the attention and economic impact a national political convention might bring. We will show the Republican National Committee – or other big convention planners – what a great place our city is. I appreciate all the work of Visit Milwaukee and other partners are bringing to this effort.”

In an interview with BizTimes Friday afternoon, VISIT Milwaukee CEO Peggy Williams-Smith said she confirmed with the RNC that Milwaukee in fact made the final four.

“We’re in the process of waiting on them to get back to us for dates for site visits, but we’re definitely looking forward to putting our best foot forward … to try to capture this convention for 2024,” said Williams-Smith.

In preparation for the RNC’s site visit, VISIT Milwaukee has already begun planning tours of the city’s top entertainment venues, designing its hotel package, and “figuring out who needs to be in what meetings to make sure that they understand they have the full support of the business community and city,” she said.

The RNC last fall invited Milwaukee to bid on the convention, and the city officially submitted its bid in December.

Meanwhile, the city is vying for another shot at hosting the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Months before leaving office, former Mayor Tom Barrett formally accepted the DNC’s invitation to compete in the site selection process. Williams-Smith said the city is still waiting on an RFP from the DNC so it can officially submit its bid.

Milwaukee is one of about 20 cities that were invited in late July to consider bidding on the 2024 DNC, which would bring an estimated $200 million in economic impact and 50,000 visitors to the region. That was the kind of financial and tourism boost that Milwaukee missed out on when the 2020 DNC was scaled back to a mostly-virtual event. Because of that, some feel Milwaukee deserves another opportunity to host the DNC – or instead, the RNC.

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Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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