RNC 2020

GOP panel picks Charlotte for its 2020 convention, putting city in national spotlight

Charlotte will be home to RNC 2020. Here’s what you need to know.

Charlotte is the chosen city for the Republican National Convention. Political reporter, Jim Morrill tells us what to expect in 2020.
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Charlotte is the chosen city for the Republican National Convention. Political reporter, Jim Morrill tells us what to expect in 2020.

The Republican National Committee’s site selection committee unanimously backed Charlotte on Wednesday as the site for its 2020 national convention, according to two party officials familiar with the process.

That means Charlotte will likely be the city where President Donald Trump is nominated for a second term. He would accept the nomination in Spectrum Center, where his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama, launched his own bid for another term in 2012.

Charlotte would be hosting its second national political convention in a decade. The RNC is expected to formally approve Charlotte on Friday as part of its summer meeting in Austin, Texas.

The convention is expected to be held in late July or August of 2020. No exact date has been set.

Charlotte citizens make a case to city council on weather or not the Republican National Convention should be held in the Queen City

The chairman of the Nevada Republican Party congratulated Charlotte on its likely selection as the site for the 2020 Republican National Convention. Las Vegas was the only city left in the running of the seven cities that GOP officials said had applied.

“It’s going to be fantastic in Charlotte,” Chairman Michael McDonald told reporters. “Am I disappointed? Immensely. (But) it’s a win-win for me.”

McDonald said the outcome was clear from the prayer offered by an Oklahoma delegate at the start of the panel’s meeting. In an opening invocation, the delegate thanked the Charlotte City Council for its vote approving the convention Monday.

McDonald credited Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, a Democrat, and council supporters.

“I am very proud of the mayor and City Council and the job that they did,” he said. “That’s great leadership on a difficult vote,” referring to the 6-5 vote by the Democratic-controlled council.

The site selection committee adjourned with no public announcement.

Committee Chairman Ron Kaufman, asked if Charlotte was the pick, said: “I love Charlotte. I love the Hornets.”

Lee Hoffman, a GOP committee member from Nevada, said he looks forward to going to Charlotte.

“I like to travel,” he said. “It’s too bad it’s not going to be in Nevada.”

The committee’s decision comes two days after the divided Charlotte City Council voted to approve convention-related contracts in front of an audience that included dozens of people passionately opposed to hosting the convention.

The issue sparked a heated war of words among Democrats, including Democratic council members who argued in unusually personal terms on social media. A growing number of Democrats advocated against the convention in recent weeks.

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But Lyles championed the bid. “Charlotte is a place where we value diverse experiences and inclusive dialogue,” she wrote in an Observer column last week.

Lyles, Democrats Julie Eiselt and James Mitchell, and Republicans Ed Driggs and Tariq Bokhari are flying to Austin Thursday afternoon and evening, Bokhari said.

A delegation from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority was already en route to Austin.

The decision puts North Carolina on the front lines of the 2020 political battles. In addition to the presidential race, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican Sen. Thom Tillis will be up for re-election.

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.

“We’re a battleground no matter if the RNC comes or not,” said political scientist Michael Bitzer of Catawba College. “But it would certainly give a boost of energy to North Carolina Republicans, depending on what the president’s standing is in two years.”

N.C. Republicans plan to take advantage of the announcement by holding a volunteer recruitment event in uptown Charlotte the evening of Aug. 4.

On Thursday, the Mecklenburg County Republican Party will host a celebration from 6:30-8 p.m. at J. Sam’s Wine Bar at 4625 Piedmont Row Drive.

The convention also is likely to energize Democrats.

“In a presidential election year, with a competitive Senate race against Thom Tillis, and the chance to reelect Gov. Roy Cooper, it’s hard to imagine how North Carolina Democrats could be more energized in 2020 — but putting the RNC in our backyard would certainly do just that,” state Democratic Chairman Wayne Goodwin said in a statement.

The political landscape in 2020 could look a lot different than it does in 2018.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation could be long over. A Democratic-controlled U.S. House could have begun impeachment proceedings. A new more conservative Supreme Court could have voted on significant issues, including Roe v. Wade.

But the economy could be in the midst of what would then be a record-long recovery. Kim Jong Un could be on his way to de-nuclearizing the Korean peninsula. And the tariff war of 2018 could lead to more favorable trade agreements by 2020.

The decision kicks off more than two years of planning and organizing for an event that will cost upwards of $100 million.

In charge will be a host committee of upwards of 70 people, according to one organizer.

In 2014, Cleveland was among eight contenders for the GOP convention, finally beating out Dallas.

The host committee in Cleveland raised $64 million. That was on top of around $50 million in federal money for security and an $11 million cost to the city for expenses such as trash pickup.

One post-convention analysis determined the event had $188 million in total economic impact. Another put the economic benefit at $142 million.

Alluding to the discord in the run-up to the decision, Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, said the party will try to maintain a civil dialog.

“We will do everything we can to make sure that the political debate is robust but respectful,” he said.