Politics & Government

Charlotte delegation plans to be there when RNC 2020 is announced next month

In this July 21, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses delegates during the final day session of the Republican national convention in Cleveland. A small group of Charlotte officials are planning to attend the RNC's summer meeting in Austin, Texas, in July, where they expect the RNC will name the winning city for the 2020 convention.
In this July 21, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses delegates during the final day session of the Republican national convention in Cleveland. A small group of Charlotte officials are planning to attend the RNC's summer meeting in Austin, Texas, in July, where they expect the RNC will name the winning city for the 2020 convention. AP file

Charlotte public officials and community leaders plan to attend the Republican National Committee's summer meeting in Austin next month, with the belief that the city will be awarded the 2020 GOP national convention, according to multiple people familiar with the planning for the trip.

Charlotte and Las Vegas are the only cities that have bid for the 2020 RNC, where Donald Trump is expected to be nominated for a second presidential term.

The RNC's summer meeting is July 18-20 in Austin, Texas. The RNC's site selection committee is expected to meet July 18, and an announcement about the winning city could come soon afterward.

The Charlotte officials asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the selection process with the RNC. Flights have not yet been booked for the trip, but several people have been told to clear their calendars.

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which has led the bid, said Friday it is making "preliminary plans" to attend the meeting in Austin.

CRVA spokesperson Laura White said the organization is still working on its bid, including securing competitive hotel room rates at Charlotte hotels.

Charlotte submits bid to host 2020 Republican National Convention. The first step is to submit a proposal "highlighting all that Charlotte has to offer as a convention destination," which was spearheaded by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

In an interview with the Observer on Friday, Mayor Vi Lyles declined to say whether she will attend the Austin meeting.

"I can't speculate on that," she said. "Until we have a contract signed, we don't know anything."

Charlotte officials were not present in February 2011 when the Democratic Party announced the city would host the 2012 Democratic national convention. Charlotte was competing with Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis.

"I'm going to Austin to be there if the good news falls our way," said state Rep. Andy Dulin, a Charlotte Republican. "If indeed we get it, it will be historic for our city."

For the 2020 RNC, Las Vegas made a late bid and doesn't yet have a site for the convention. Officials supporting the Las Vegas bid have said the gambling center has a number of suitable venues, including arenas attached to casinos, and that the city could quickly find a home for thousands of delegates and media that would attend.

Charlotte, on the other hand, has presented the RNC with a detailed bid, much of it modeled after the city's blueprint for hosting the 2012 Democratic national convention. The convention would be held in the Spectrum Center, and the Convention Center would be used for media and other secondary purposes.

Lyles has been an enthusiastic supporter of bringing the RNC to Charlotte, even as other Democratic-controlled cities have decided not to bid. San Antonio considered bidding this spring, but the City Council there voted against trying to win the RNC, after Latino activists complained that hosting the convention would damage relations with Mexico.

Charlotte officials have said they aren't concerned about politics. Lyles and other Democrats have said the convention would bring tens of millions of dollars in visitor spending to the city, and would give low-wage hospitality workers a boost.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs
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