RNC 2024: Milwaukee's bid on hold, host committee looking ahead

Milwaukee's Common Council on Wednesday tabled a vote on bringing the 2024 Republican National Convention to town.

FOX6 News has learned several members of the RNC host committee met with Mayor Cavalier Johnson's office Thursday morning to try to figure out a path forward – tens of millions of dollars at stake either way.

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VISIT Milwaukee estimated the 2024 RNC would bring $200 million to the city. Omar Shaikh is one of the business owners who could benefit.

"I can tell you it’d be the best week of all my employees' lives," he said.

Shaikh is also a member of the RNC host committee. He said the committee spent Thursday figuring out what's next after the Common Council's Steering and Rules Committee voted to put the convention's contract on hold – eyeing a $6 million payment from the RNC.

"I have not heard of anything ever being done like this. I know it’s not possible," said Shaikh.

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Alderman Bob Bauman questioned the true impact of the convention. The $200 million estimate is based on a study of the 2016 RNC in Cleveland. Unlike Cleveland, the city of Milwaukee would not receive any direct tax benefit.

"It’s a negotiation. The city has to grow a backbone. Sooner or later we’re going to have to say ‘no,’" Bauman said.

Milwaukee City Hall

Time is ticking for the RNC and Milwaukee to reach a deal. The RNC said it wants to make a final decision between Milwaukee and Nashville by mid-June.

"We have a very short turnaround time here. This has to get down very soon," said Shaikh.

A spokesperson for the mayor said he was too busy for an interview Thursday. In a statement, a spokesperson said the mayor is talking with Common Council members and is, for now, keeping those conversations private.