EXPLAINER: Could Nashville host RNC 2028?

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - After Metro officials rejected the proposal to bring the Republican National Convention to Nashville in 2024, some lawmakers said the idea of bringing the convention to the city in 2028 is still on the table.

According to Axios, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon reached out to the committee about bidding on the 2028 convention. The RNC then gave a deadline of Oct. 15 for Nashville to submit an application to host the convention.

“Metro indicated a few months ago they were uncomfortable with hosting the 2024 Convention for multiple reasons but would be more comfortable with hosting in 2028,” said House Speaker Cameron Sexton. “The RNC has asked Metro to return an application by October 15th if they are interested in hosting the 2028 Convention. We are all watching to see if the statements made by Metro a few months ago were political gibberish or if they were truly interested in hosting in 2028. We will find out in a few days where Metro really stands.”

The original motion to bring the RNC to Nashville was pulled in early July due to security issues that were brought up before the meeting. Councilwoman Sharon Hurt told WSMV4 she withdrew her legislation that would have created a roadblock for the convention to come to Nashville.

“Rather than focus on a political meeting that happens every four years, I wish our legislators would do things that help Tennesseans in a volatile economy—releasing TANF funds, expanding Medicaid, and finding exceptions to our new forced birth policy,” Councilman Freddie O’Connell told WSMV4. “Nashvillians are Tennesseans, too—in fact, we’re almost 10% of all Tennesseans—and too often, our legislature prevents us from governing ourselves. Let’s focus on governing, not posturing. If we can’t, then there’s a nice expo center in Williamson County, and the bars on Broadway aren’t too far away.”

In August, the decision in favor of Milwaukee over Nashville was announced at the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting in Chicago; it was anti-climactic after Nashville essentially took itself out of the running when the city council on Tuesday rejected a draft agreement for hosting the event. That came after Democratic opposition sunk that city’s chances, and the RNC’s site selection committee picked Milwaukee last month.

“I think Nashville would be a perfect location for the 2024 Republican Convention. It would be a great showcase for the city of Nashville and the state of Tennessee,” Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally told WSMV4 when RNC 2024 was still on the table. “The leaders of both political parties support this effort. A major political party convention in Nashville would not only be an excellent economic driver, it would send a message that Nashville deserves a seat at the table alongside our nation’s greatest cities. I am greatly disappointed to hear that some on the Metro Council are reticent to support the effort. I am hopeful Nashville’s leaders will reconsider their positions and tactics and that the overall effort to bring major party conventions to Nashville will not be affected. If Metro persists in attempting to torpedo this effort, the state will have no choice but to explore alternative options to bring major party conventions to our state.”