MILWAUKEE — Bright blue skies and below zero wind chills may not be the best day to welcome visitors to Milwaukee, but TMJ4 News has learned that a site selection task force team for the 2024 Republican National Convention is in Brew City Thursday.
Milwaukee is one of four cities the RNC is considering. The others are Nashville, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.
Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, who chairs the Republican Party of Wisconsin, says he met with the RNC team Thursday morning. "I thought it was a very productive meeting," said Farrow.
The visit included checking out the city, touring venues and talking finances, all part of the early due diligence phase of picking a city.
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.
Visit Milwaukee is leading the city's effort to win the bid for both major party conventions in 2024. When asked about the RNC in Milwaukee today, Visit would only say they are "...constantly working to win the RNC and other conventions."
The point person for the state Republican Party is Gerard Randall. Last month he told our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal: “I have responsibilities to work on behalf of the Republican Party of Wisconsin as coordinator of our effort with Visit Milwaukee. We are working diligently to bring the convention to Milwaukee.”
Milwaukee won the competitive battle to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention at Fiserv Forum. But the pandemic forced the DNC to hold a mostly virtual event that did not include presidential nominee Joe Biden coming to Milwaukee to accept his party's nomination.
Wisconsin is expected to be another key battleground state in 2024. President Biden won the Badger state by 20,682 votes in 2020. Former President Trump turned Wisconsin red in 2016 by 22,748 votes.
Political conventions are expensive and they require the host city to raise tens of millions of dollars. But they also attract 50,000 visitors, national and international media attention and an estimated $200 million economic impact.