RNC 2024: Milwaukee mayor expects Common Council to OK contract

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said on Friday, May 27 it is his expectation that the Common Council will approve a contract to bring the Republican National Convention to the city in 2024

"I think that the RNC presents a tremendous opportunity for the City of Milwaukee. It's a $200 million economic infusion into our communities; to support existing businesses, to support businesses that are starting up, to support our workers that have been battered by COVID and a tourism and hospitality industry," Johnson said. "It presents an opportunity for Milwaukee to be in the national conversation to attract other large-scale events of this caliber and magnitude in the future."

The mayor said this is not a political decision, but a business decision that needs to be made by city leaders.

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"I think that the council will understand the importance of this to the businesses that are here, the businesses that are scaling up, and the workers that would positively benefit from having this convention. The same way that council members saw that same sort of value with the Democratic National Convention just two years ago," Johnson said. "We missed out on an opportunity to have a nearly $200 million economic windfall in our community two years ago. We have the opportunity now to capture that. The brass ring is right there."

Some members of the Common Council have tried to table a vote on the RNC contract – unless the RNC offers up a $6 million payment. Mayor Johnson does not agree with this tactic.

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"No, I don't support putting it in there. I think it amounts basically to a poison pill that could kill the deal. And as all of you know, I actively have been working on the deal for months," Johnson said. "If you look at it through the lens of the Republican National Committee, this would put them in a precarious position where, for future events in future cities, they would be on the line to have to negotiate millions and millions of dollars up front with other communities."

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.