Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, seated left, and GOP officials sign contracts Friday for Milwaukee to host the 2024 Republican convention. (Mayor’s Facebook page photo)
The Republican Party will hold its 2024 presidential convention in Milwaukee, the party announced Friday, an outcome that was widely expected after Nashville withdrew from the competition to be the convention site.
“Milwaukee is a world-class city, and we are eager to see it shine in the spotlight come 2024,” tweeted Ronna McDaniel, Republican Party chairwoman.
On his government Facebook page, Mayor Cavalier Johnson posted that the event “will have a great economic impact for our city and surrounding communities.”
Milwaukee’s selection was all but a foregone conclusion, particularly after the Nashville Metro Council rejected a proposed contract this week by more than a 2-1 margin., citing concerns about cost and security risks.
Advocates for bringing the GOP convention to Milwaukee include Democrats as well as Republicans, citing an expected boom for the city’s hospitality industry.
In his Facebook post, Johnson said that “this opportunity will result in job creation for residents, an increase in funds brought in through state and local taxes, and as a result further opportunities to support our residents right here in Milwaukee.”
But forecasts of a potential windfall to the city also have skeptics. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Politifact rated as “half true” Johnson’s claim that the event would bring “a $200 million economic infusion into our communities.” One expert told Politifact the estimate was “wildly exaggerated,” and the review also concluded that much of the new revenue wouldn’t stay in the city.
Because the state Legislature has blocked municipalities from charging local sales taxes, all the sales tax revenue from people attending the convention will go to the state, not the city, Marquette University political scientist Philip Rocco has observed.
The convention has also drawn opposition for other reasons. Milwaukee’s selection was “an alarming decision that normalizes an organization that has embraced white supremacy, authoritarianism, and acts of political violence,” said a coalition that includes Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, Voces de la Frontera and other groups, in a statement issued Friday.
“The Republican Party is not welcome in a majority people of color city with the largest number of immigrants and refugees in the state of Wisconsin,” the coalition stated. “We do not want acts of racist violence against our community and we do not want our city turned into a militarized zone,” a reference to the prospect of armed white militia members descending on the city.
Critics have cited the treatment of Milwaukee by Wisconsin Republican lawmakers as well as the party’s embrace abortion bans, rolling back rights for LGBTQ people and racist political and policy messaging.
A coalition of community, student, labor and political groups announced plans Friday to organize “a major demonstration” during the week of the 2024 convention, said Omar Flores, a spokesman for the group, in a statement. Many of the same groups were part of a coalition organized to march on the Democratic National Convention in 2020.
This story has been updated with information from a statement issued Friday afternoon by BLOC and Voces de la Frontera.
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