Milwaukee 'frontrunner' as Republican National Convention host: Report

Milwaukee is now among three cities vying for convention host, according to a report
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Posted at 2:04 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 09:45:38-05

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee is now the frontrunner in the competition for host city of the Republican National Convention in 2024, Politico's Playbook newsletter reports.

On Thursday members of the RNC's selection committee visited the city, and former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker joined them to talk up why Brew City should be the convention host.

Politico, citing an unnamed source who is similar with ongoing talks, reports RNC officials "love this town" and that it is now the "frontrunner." Party officials further plan to select Reince Priebus, the Wisconsin native who is a former RNC chair and White House chief of staff, as the chair of the host committee if Milwaukee is selected.

“This is not us with a hail Mary," Walker said. "You’ve got a state of the art facility. You’ve got a community that already pledged to hold a national convention, so the business community has stepped up.”

Waukesha County Executive and Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Paul Farrow says the 2020 blueprint for security and more takes a lot of the legwork put of the planning.

“I think that really helped us to show that we can provide the security they are looking for. We have the capacity in the rooms that we need” Farrow said.

Milwaukee was one of four host cities vying for the title - with Nashville, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City - but Politico also reported recently Pittsburgh has been eliminated from the selection process.

Milwaukee missed out on hosting an in-person Democratic National Convention in 2020. Most of the convention was held virtually due to COVID-19, and the city did not benefit from the usual financial boost such a large convention brings to host cities.

Milwaukee submitted its bid for the RNC in December of last year. The city's application, which included more than 200 pages, highlighted access to Lake Michigan, entertainment venues, festivals, the culinary scene, the Milwaukee Bucks’ championship, the Wisconsin Center expansion, Fiserv Forum and more.

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Reince Priebus
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Inside Fiserv Forum on Thursday.

Politico also reports some of the perks Milwaukee has for the 2024 RNC is the infrastructure it has from prepping for the 2020 DNC as well as from holding big events like Summerfest. They also like the sizable $30 million pledged by local donors for the convention, and are impressed by Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson, a Democrat who has been pushing hard for Milwaukee to be the lucrative host RNC.

VISIT Milwaukee estimates the RNC would inject $200 million into the local economy and attract 45,000 visitors. While the politics of the convention hang on one side of the political spectrum, economically it would benefit everyone, VISIT notes.

“Milwaukee is pursuing the RNC for the same reason it pursued the DNC,” Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, in a statement this week. “To bring hundreds of millions of dollars in near- and long-term economic benefit to our restaurants, bars, hotels, shops and venues," said Williams-Smith.

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