Mayor Vi Lyles, Police Chief Kerr Putney and a group of Charlotte tourism officials flew to Washington, D.C., Thursday to meet with the Republican National Committee about the city hosting the party's 2020 convention.
Lyles said Friday that the party told her there were other cities bidding, but Lyles said the RNC did not tell them which ones. There has been little media attention from other cities that might be bidding, and some prominent convention cities have told the Observer they are not interested.
"They did not say who, they just said there was competition," Lyles said.
The city of Dallas told the Observer Thursday that it was asked by the RNC to bid but declined. Dallas was a finalist for the 2016 RNC, which was awarded to Cleveland.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
"We took a hard look at it once, we took a hard look at it twice, but it didn't work for us," said Frank Librio of Visit Dallas, which works to bring conventions to the city.
San Antonio was not one of the first cities the RNC asked to bid. But one of President Donald Trump's campaign managers has been lobbying San Antonio to submit a late bid.
The city's mayor, Ron Nirenberg, sent a memo to his City Council Wednesday telling them the RNC wants the Texas city to bid.
He wrote that he earlier had believed "that the GOP opted not to pursue a bid from San Antonio. As such, no further discussions occurred. "
He added: "Today, I learned that the GOP has renewed its interest in San Antonio, and is now actively seeking a convention bid. I’ve asked the City Manager to schedule a full briefing at the earliest possible date. "
But it's unclear if San Antonio will bid on the convention.
In its original bid documents, the RNC told Charlotte the deadline for bidding was Feb. 28. But the RNC has extended that deadline, though it did not say why.
The Observer has reached out to a number of other large cities, many of them in swing states. Orlando; Phoenix; Atlanta; Nashville; Columbus, Ohio; and Pittsburgh said they are not bidding.
The RNC has told the Observer it "has a long-standing practice not to comment on the selection process this early."
Hosting a national political convention can bring the host city tens of millions of dollars in visitor spending. But it also brings headaches to coordinate logistics and security.
That could be amplified in 2020 for the RNC, which is expected to nominate Trump for a second term.
The Charlotte delegation included Lyles, Putney, Republican City Council member Ed Driggs and representatives from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, including chief executive Tom Murray.
Lyles said they met with Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chair of the RNC, and other top Republicans. Lyles declined to say what they talked about specifically. She said a main part of the city's pitch is that it hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
"I would say that Charlotte's bid is really strong. It was good to sit down with the committee to walk through some of the steps that are needed," Lyles said. "I think our strength is that we have done it before."
When Charlotte was awarded the 2012 DNC, Democrats told the city in January 2011 — 18 months before the convention. The similar timeline for the 2020 convention would be to hear in January.
When Charlotte hosted the DNC, the local host committee was responsible for raising about $37 million – and fell short by $8 million.
Bid documents released by the CRVA show that the Republicans expect the host city to raise between $68 million and $70 million. That’s based on how much was needed for the 2016 RNC in Cleveland.
At least two cities — Atlanta and Milwaukee — have said they will bid on the 2020 Democratic National Convention.