Nashville is pursuing bids to host the Republican and Democrat presidential nominating conventions, at Governor Bill Lee’s request.
Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, released a statement to WKRN regarding the city’s plans.
“At the request of the Governor’s Office, we have submitted a response to the RNC’s RFP and requested an RFP from the DNC,” he said; adding:
We are bidding on both political party conventions for the 2024 election cycle at the request of and support from the Governor’s Office. The NCVC’s primary role is to book convention business for Nashville without bias. We work daily with clients to book conventions and with individuals who want assistance in recruiting meetings and events. It’s not appropriate for the NCVC to pick and choose which groups get to meet in Nashville.
Mayor Cooper spokesperson Ben Eagles told Axios that economic interests will be at the forefront of the mayor’s mind. “We’re always going to listen if there is a chance to bring a major event to Nashville, if it makes financial sense for the city,” Eagles said. “During the bidding process, as with any other convention, Mayor Cooper will be appropriately concerned with not incurring additional costs to the city.”
The Republican and Democrat conventions occur every four years during U.S. presidential elections and are where the respective parties’ candidates for President and Vice-President are officially nominated by convention delegates. Party business such as ratifying rules or making changes to party platforms is also conducted, typically over a 3-4 day period.
The 2016 Democrat National Convention in Philadelphia generated $230.9 million in economic benefit, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The city of Philadelphia estimated 50,000 people visited the city because of the DNC. The 2016 conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia were the last major national party conventions to occur prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nashville was briefly discussed as a possible alternative site for the Republican convention in 2020 when it became clear that the original site, Charlotte became unworkable for a full convention due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
The Democrat National Committee has invited 20 cities, including Milwaukee to place bids to host the Democrat nominating convention.
Like Nashville, Milwaukee is pursuing bids to host both the Republican and the Democrat presidential nominating conventions. Milwaukee was the site of the very scaled down Democrat convention which saw most delegates not attend in person, with virtual speeches by nominees. Columbus, Ohio has also expressed interest in becoming the site of either.
With it’s ample supply of large venues, convention meeting space, entertainment and accommodations, Nashville could be an attractive location to host either party’s convention.
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Republican National Convention” by Walt Disney Television. CC BY-ND 2.0.