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Milwaukee vs Nashville: The battle to win the Republican National Convention in 2024

TMJ4's Charles Benson looks at the political landscape in both states.
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Posted at 7:49 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 20:49:30-04

It's now down to two cities for one very big national political convention.

"The battle between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Nashville, Tennessee is really the battle between beer and battleground politics versus country music, " said Political strategist Brian Reisinger, President of Platform Communications in Madison. "These are large cultural touchstones; these are things that can really send a strong message all across the nation."

Reisinger has navigated campaigns in both states. He was on Ron Johnson and Scott Walker's campaign teams, and he worked for Republican Lamar Alexander in Tennessee.

TMJ4's Charles Benson: What are the things that people would not know about Tennessee that would give Tennessee or Nashville an advantage in holding a convention?
Reisinger: It's a deep red state that is going to stand for, I think a lot of values that Republicans and conservatives are going to be looking to embody in 2024.

The 2020 presidential election wasn't even close in Tennessee. Former president Donald Trump won by double digits.

But in battleground Wisconsin, Trump won by 20,000 votes in 2016 and lost by that margin in 2020.

But Reisinger sees that as an advantage for Wisconsin.

"Wisconsin is one of the tightest battleground states in the country, you could argue, depending upon the election, the most important state that you could win. It's been a keystone in presidential elections. It's been crucial to winning or losing senate," he said.

Nashville sits in one of three blue counties in Tennessee. President Joe Biden carried Davidson County with 65% of the vote.

Milwaukee is also a Democratic stronghold. Biden won with nearly 70% of the vote in Milwaukee County, one of 14 in Wisconsin.

Benson: Does that create a less friendly environment if Republicans wanted to come here?
Reisinger: Certainly going to be protests, certainly going to be fireworks. I think most of that stuff tends to draw more attention to the convention, so I don't know that people necessarily make a decision, trying to avoid that kind of thing.

Reisinger added it's not just a Milwaukee issue.

"So, in both Nashville and Milwaukee, the RNC is going to encounter people who are probably not real happy to have him on the doorstep, but they're also going to encounter a lot of people that are very excited."

The host city trying to win a political convention usually has bipartisan support and for good reason.

"It's a huge opportunity from an economic standpoint," said Reisinger. "And a chance to send a message about the political importance of your state, regardless of which direction any (election) cycle might go."

If Milwaukee is chosen, it would be only the second time a city has hosted back-to-back conventions and the first since the Big Apple in 1976 and 1980.

The only difference is Milwaukee would be hosting both parties' conventions. New York City hosted back-to-back Democratic conventions.

The one footnote for Milwaukee, the 2020 DNC was mostly virtual because of the pandemic.

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