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Republicans pick Milwaukee to host 2024 national convention

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Screenshot from TMJ4 feed
Left to right: Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Ronna McDaniel chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and Reince Priebus former white house chief of staff. Republicans on Friday unanimously chose Milwaukee in swing state Wisconsin to host the 2024 national convention.

Republicans on Friday unanimously chose Milwaukee in swing state Wisconsin to host the 2024 national convention, beating out Nashville in deep-red Tennessee.

The decision in favor of Milwaukee was announced at the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting in Chicago, follows months of wrangling by Wisconsin and Tennessee to land the convention where the party’s next presidential candidate will be officially nominated.

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the RNC, announced the long-anticipated decision on Twitter, saying the vote was unanimous.

“Milwaukee is a world-class city, and we are eager to see it shine in the spotlight come 2024,” she tweeted.

The decision was all-but sealed after opposition in Nashville lead to that city’s council on Tuesday rejecting a draft agreement for hosting the event. And Milwaukee was the pick of the RNC’s site selection committee in July, making Friday’s announcement largely a formality.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper and others expressed concerns about security, the economic trade-off of having to mostly shut down the bustling downtown except for convention activity as well as the implications of tying up city resources for the event.

Milwaukee, a Democratic stronghold, was selected to host the 2020 Democratic National Committee convention, but that moved almost entirely online due to the coronavirus pandemic. President Joe Biden accepted the nomination in Delaware, not Milwaukee. The city used its preparations for that convention to argue to Republicans that it had a “turnkey” operation ready to host for real in 2024.

City leaders in Milwaukee joined together with Republican power brokers, including former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, to make the pitch for hosting the 2024 Republican convention. Priebus, a former White House chief of staff under former President Donald Trump and Wisconsin state GOP chairman, leads the local committee for the convention.

Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016, but lost to Biden by a nearly identical margin in 2020.

Wisconsin could determine who wins in 2024, while Tennessee has not backed a Democrat for president since 1996. But choosing Milwaukee is in line with recent Republican choices for the convention. For two decades, Republicans have placed their nominating convention in swing states — North Carolina, Ohio and Florida.

Wisconsin Republican Party Chair Paul Farrow, who was in Chicago for the RNC meeting, said having the convention come to Milwaukee will “energize our base even more to realize we’re a very important hinge in the entire country.” The winner in Wisconsin has been elected president the past four elections.

While Democratic leadership in Milwaukee, like Mayor Cavalier Johnson and County Executive David Crowley, have welcomed the convention with open arms, the development has alarmed others in the city.

Angela Lang, executive director of BLOC, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, says she’s disappointed in city leaders pushing for the event, and not just because it’s a Republican convention.

"It's because that this party seems to be a source of comfort for groups like the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers and folks that want to continue to harm our communities as well as overturn democracy."

Lang says that Milwaukee is a city with a majority of people of color and "tends to be a dog whistle for a lot of folks on the Republican side." She says there's always a lot of anti-Milwaukee sentiment from statewide Republicans. "But we also know it's coded for Black and brown folks," says Lang. "And I feel like [the GOP base] is kind of violent as well. I can only imagine that people like Kyle Rittenhouse are going to be uplifted and centered. And what does that mean and how it antagonizes our communities that are continuing to process and grieve and heal from his actions?"

A new coalition of political, community, campus and labor groups has already formed to host a major demonstration during the week of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in 2024.

Editor’s note: A portion of the audio is from TMJ4's audio stream.

Maayan Silver has been a reporter with WUWM’s News Team since 2018.
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