Politics & Government

After flurry of criticism, Charlotte council will vote on deals for RNC convention

Mayor Vi Lyles defends city’s bid for the RNC

Mayor Vi Lyles speaks about the possibility of the Republican National Convention coming to Charlotte at a meeting of the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg Wednesday at AME Little Rock Mount Zion church in First Ward.
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Mayor Vi Lyles speaks about the possibility of the Republican National Convention coming to Charlotte at a meeting of the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg Wednesday at AME Little Rock Mount Zion church in First Ward.

The Charlotte City Council is expected to vote Monday on entering into tentative agreements with the Republican Party and federal government on issues related to hosting the 2020 GOP convention, sources told the Observer Wednesday.

The votes would essentially be proxy votes on council support for the convention.

On Tuesday multiple reports suggested that Charlotte is the frontrunner to host the convention.

“All indications are Charlotte is the leading candidate and people connected to the process believe it is coming, but that is not finalized,” a Republican official familiar with the proceedings told McClatchy on Tuesday.

The Republican National Committee is expected to announce the convention site at its quarterly meeting in Austin next week.

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Sources on council and with the city, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the council is expected to vote to accept federal money for security as well as an agreement with the GOP national committee. The agreements would be contingent upon the RNC awarding the convention to Charlotte.

The votes would come after a flurry of criticism directed at those who want the convention. Almost all has come from Democrats.

Some have said they don’t want the city associated with President Donald Trump. Democratic council member LaWana Mayfield cited what she called the president’s “hostility towards minorities and people of color.”

But Mayor Vi Lyles, a Democrat, made the case for the convention in an op-ed for the Observer on Tuesday.

“Charlotte is a place where we value diverse experiences and inclusive dialogue,” she wrote. “The current political climate, with its divisive rhetoric and harmful policies, does not represent my values or the values of most Charlotteans. But if Charlotte is the site for the RNC, we can show that our city is about inclusion and leverage it as an opportunity to demonstrate our values of respect while honoring our differences.”

If Charlotte wins the convention, it would be the 11th city to host conventions for both parties. It would be the 14th city to host more than one.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Trump himself has expressed interest in holding the convention in Las Vegas. But he also has complimented Charlotte. In 2011 when he was looking at development projects in the city he spoke to WCNC.

“I like Charlotte a lot,” he told the station. “It’s a great place. I’m actually looking to buy property, specific property in Charlotte. So I hope you guys continue to do well.”

It’s unclear exactly when the convention would be held.

The Democratic Convention is scheduled to take place from July 13 to July 16, 2020. That’s earlier than recent conventions.

Republicans could hold theirs the following week, although the Summer Olympics begins July 24 in Tokyo, possibly pushing the GOP gathering to August.

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