Metro Nashville’s council has dealt a potential final blow to supporters of moving the 2024 Republican National Convention to the city, leaving Milwaukee as the all-but-certain winner to host the GOP’s largest party.
The staunchly Democratic city council in a Republican southern state voted Tuesday night to advance a bill that would have created a draft agreement to host the event. In the 40-person board, 10 members voted in favor of the Assembly deal and 22 voted against it.
The RNC’s site selection committee last month recommended Milwaukee host the event after the Nashville council withdrew its proposed agreement to host the presidential nominating convention. A reinvigorated push for Nashville fared no better.
Milwaukee is also a Democratic stronghold, but despite mixed feelings he approved a similar framework in June that covers the logistics of hosting him there.
Whether and how Tennessee Republican lawmakers target Nashville in response to the RNC rejection remains to be seen.
Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton dismissed the city’s leadership Wednesday as “the most progressive, liberal council in America” for voting against the convention, but said any “metro Nashville decisions” can wait until the start of next legislative session in January. He said he was “certainly going to have plenty of discussion on this issue.”
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said the vote shows Nashville leaders are “not willing to serve as ambassadors for our state.”
Nashville Mayor John Cooper and others raised concerns about safety, the financial trade-off of having to shut down most of the city’s busy downtown except for convention activity and the implications of committing city resources to the event.
Some progressive leaders went further, arguing that hosting the Republican rally would go against the city’s values. Several council members wrote an open letter to state GOP Chairman Scott Golden in June asking whether Tennessee Republicans intend to remain “outwardly hostile” to Nashville’s efforts to be a welcoming economic driver for the state by managing massive development. city’s.
Republicans split the city into three districts that cut into rural areas, hoping to flip what had been a Democratic seat. passed a near-total ban that forced the city’s Planned Parenthood clinic to stop offering abortions. and imposed several laws targeting the city, including a school voucher program that is in effect in only two districts that are both Democratic, Nashville’s Shelby County and Memphis.
Councilman Robert Swope, who supported the GOP assembly proposal, questioned Tuesday which groups the city could deny next.
“The real and present danger of not supporting this ordinance is the international damage a no vote will do to Nashville’s stellar, welcoming and inclusive reputation,” Swope said.
For two decades, Republicans have placed their nominating convention in swing states — North Carolina, Ohio and Florida. Trump decisively won his presidential contests in Tennessee. He narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016, but lost to Biden by nearly the same margin in 2020.
Milwaukee hosted the 2020 Democratic convention, but the coronavirus pandemic forced that meeting to take place almost entirely online, and Joe Biden accepted the nomination in Delaware.
Wisconsin could determine who wins in 2024, while Tennessee hasn’t endorsed a Democrat for president since 1996.