Nashville’s chances of hosting the 2024 Republican National Convention plummeted Tuesday after key legislation was withdrawn ahead of a vote.
Two council members pulled a bill to approve a draft agreement between the Republican National Committee and Nashville off the Metro Council agenda at the last minute. Opponents of the bill said it would likely have been defeated on its first of three readings.
The move leaves Nashville’s status as a host city runner-up on less secure footing compared to rival Milwaukee.
The Nashville 2024 host committee asked the administration to withdraw the bill, sponsored by board members Robert Swope and Jonathan Hall, to allow time “to address multiple concerns and objections” expressed by board members , according to a Tuesday night statement to the Tennessean.
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The committee hopes the bill will be reintroduced for the next council meeting on July 19.
The Republican National Committee was expected to approve the location of its 2024 convention at its Aug. 5 meeting. Nashville can no longer approve a deal on that date, but the committee could change the deadline.
“We optimistically believe that Nashville is the ideal American city to host one or both of our nation’s nominating conventions and to demonstrate to the world its ability to host civil and respectful public discourse on issues vital to the future of our country,” the local organizing committee said.
The Milwaukee Common Council unanimously approved a draft settlement with the Republican National Committee last month.
Milwaukee seems more interested in hosting the convention, positioning itself as a turnkey ready after its plans to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention were scrapped by the coronavirus pandemic.
The approval of the draft agreement by the Metro Council is a major obstacle. Without it, RNC 2024 cannot secure the $50 million federal security grant needed to host the convention.
He would be hosted at the Music City Convention Center if he came to Nashville. The security perimeter would be extended.
The draft agreement stated that the convention would use the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, the Fifth + Broadway complex, and Broadway bars from Representative John Lewis Way to Third Avenue.
The security logistics of hosting the convention are one of the many reasons the draft deal looked set to fail if put to a full board vote.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper, a Democrat, said he had “serious concerns” about the resources needed to host either political party’s national convention. Metro’s legal and finance departments helped shape the draft agreement.
Sharon Hurt, a member of the general council, had also tabled a resolution for the council to vote on which said the city “will not tolerate any potential threat to its citizens”.
“Inviting a political convention of any party to Nashville and Davidson County brings security concerns as well as concerns about increasingly divisive rhetoric,” the nonbinding resolution said.
Hurt said she still opposes either political convention in Nashville, but withdrew the resolution after Swope and Hall’s bill was taken off the agenda.
Council members Angie Henderson, Dave Rosenberg, Joy Styles and Bob Mendes wrote a letter to Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden last week listing “critical issues” with the Tennessee Republican Party’s fractured relationship with Nashville leaders.
The letter asked if the state’s Republican Party would “continue to be outwardly hostile in its intentions and actions” toward Nashville’s ability to legislate and implement policies to address growth and respond. the needs of residents and visitors to the city.
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Governor Bill Lee and several Tennessee lawmakers support the idea of hosting the convention in Nashville and approved a $25 million tourism grant earlier this year that could be earmarked for a possible convention.
The convention could attract an estimated economic impact of $200 million and tens of thousands of visitors to its host city.
Bill Glauber and Alison Dirr contributed to this report.
Adam Friedman is the political and government reporter for the state of Tennessean. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cassandra Stephenson covers metropolitan government for The Tennessean. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow Cassandra on Twitter at @CStephenson731.
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