NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Nashville metro council likely dealt a final blow to advocates of bringing the 2024 Republican National Convention to the city, leaving Milwaukee the near-certain winner to host the biggest party. big Republican Party.
The reliably Democratic city council in a Republican southern state voted Tuesday night to push through a bill that would have established a draft agreement to host the event. On the 40-person council, 10 members voted in favor of the convention agreement and 22 voted against it.
The RNC site selection panel recommended last month Milwaukee hosting the event after Nashville council withdrew its settlement proposal to host the presidential nominating convention. A revived momentum for Nashville fared no better.
Milwaukee is also a Democratic stronghold, but despite some mixed feelings approved a similar framework in June that goes through the logistics of hosting him there.
It remains to be seen if and how Tennessee Republican lawmakers will target Nashville in response to the RNC rejection.
GOP House Speaker Cameron Sexton dismissed the city’s leadership on Wednesday as “the most progressive liberal council in America” for rejecting the convention, but said any “decision on the Nashville metro area ” can wait until the next legislative session begins in January. He said that he is “sure there will be extensive discussions on this issue.”
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said the vote shows Nashville leaders “do not wish to serve as ambassadors for our state.”
Nashville Mayor John Cooper and others raised concerns about safety, the financial trade-off of having to mostly close the bustling downtown area except for convention activity, and the implications of tying up Nashville resources. the city for the event.
Some progressive leaders went further, arguing that hosting the massive Republican gathering would go against the city’s values. Several council members wrote an open letter to state GOP Chairman Scott Golden in June asking if Tennessee Republicans plan to remain “apparently hostile” to Nashville’s efforts to be a welcoming economic driver for the state while managing the massive growth of the city.
Republicans have divided the city into three districts that jut into rural areas in hopes of changing what has been a Democratic seat; passed a near-total ban that forced the city’s Planned Parenthood clinic to stop offering abortions; and imposed many laws targeting the city, including a school voucher program applicable in only two areas that are Democratic, Nashville and Shelby County of Memphis.
Councilman Robert Swope, who sponsored the GOP convention proposal, questioned Tuesday which groups the city might reject next.
“The real and present danger of not supporting this ordinance is the international damage that saying ‘no’ will do to Nashville’s stellar, welcoming and inclusive reputation,” Swope said.
For two decades, Republicans have placed their nominating conventions 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 a nearly identical margin in 2020.
Milwaukee hosted the 2020 Democrats convention, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the gathering to take place almost entirely online, with Joe Biden accepting the nomination in Delaware.
Wisconsin could determine who wins in 2024, while Tennessee hasn’t endorsed a Democrat for president since 1996.