MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee is one of three remaining contenders to host the 2024 Republican National Convention (RNC).
Milwaukee is also the only finalist in a ‘swing state’ as it’s going up against Nashville and Salt Lake City.
Wisconsin democrats say they want the RNC in Milwaukee for the economic benefits, but republicans believe it could help their party flip the state back to red.
Although three cities remain in contention to host the 2024 RNC, political strategist Evan Zeppos believes Wisconsin’s purple state status gives Milwaukee a slight edge.
“It’s incredibly important that Wisconsin’s a swing state in the decision that the republican party will make nationally,” Zeppos said. “Getting the electoral votes for the state of Wisconsin into the republican category is going to be a priority for whoever the nominee is in 2024 for the republican party.”
Wisconsin has flipped from democrat to republican then back to democrat in the last three presidential elections. Conversely, Utah and Tennessee aren’t known to be battleground states.
The republican candidate has won the past 14 presidential elections in Utah, and the last six in Tennessee. Zeppos says if Milwaukee wins the bid, an RNC could help ignite a red wave in southeastern Wisconsin.
“If they have a convention in Milwaukee in 2024 that is inspirational, hopeful about the future, not divisive and not based on retribution then I think you could see something where people in the northern suburbs of Washington County, Ozaukee County, western suburbs of Waukesha become more comfortable going back into the republican column,” he said.
Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Paul Farrow led the RNC site selection committee on a tour Thursday of Milwaukee’s landmarks and Fiserv Forum.
“We are a purple state and there’s an opportunity to energize our base having the convention come here,” Farrow said.
Prior to the 2020 national conventions that were held virtually amid the pandemic, cities in swing states have held several conventions, but with varying results on Election Day.
In 2016, former President Donald Trump carried both states where the RNC and DNC took place. But in 2012, the democratic and republican presidential candidates ended up losing the states where they held their conventions.
The margin of victory in Wisconsin has been razor thin in the past two presidential elections.
“I think it could have a great positive response for us,” Farrow said. “When you look at it, could it flip 20,000 votes? Maybe not, but it can flip a chunk of that which makes it even easier for us to get the rest of them and that’s how we’re looking at this.”
While Farrow believes Milwaukee hosting the 2024 RNC would also benefit republican candidates down the ballot in other races, including a U.S. Senate seat, democratic strategist Melissa Baldauff thinks just the opposite could take place.
“I don’t think that’s going to be as helpful to republicans as they might think or harmful to democrats. I think if you’ve got somebody who’s as polarizing and extreme as say, former President Donald Trump coming through Wisconsin in 2024, that’s not going to have a positive impact for them.”
Farrow says the RNC site selection committee is expected to choose its 2024 host city sometime this summer.