Why Charlotte was picked for the Republican National Convention in 2020
The head of Charlotte’s host committee for the 2020 Republican National Convention said Tuesday the group is “way ahead” of earlier conventions in fundraising. That would be in marked contrast to the 2012 Democratic convention.
And John Lassiter, CEO of Charlotte’s host committee, told the Charlotte Rotary that the convention could have a $200 million direct and indirect economic impact on the city.
The host committee is trying to raise more than $70 million for the convention, scheduled to take place in late August of 2020. Lassiter said, “We’ve got a clear pathway” to that goal.
“We’re way ahead of where everybody was in ‘16 and ‘12,” he said, referring to the 2016 GOP convention in Cleveland and the 2012 Democratic gathering in Charlotte. He refused to say how much has been raised. No reports are due until after the convention.
But alluding to the city’s biggest corporate employers, he said, “All of the usual players have found a way to get behind what we’re doing.”
In 2012, organizers of the Democratic convention were contracted to raise $36.6 million. But they fell millions short and were forced to to tap a $10 million line of credit guaranteed by Charlotte-based Duke Energy. Duke ended up eating the loan.
But under a directive from then-President Barack Obama, organizers could accept no corporate money. Organizers of the GOP convention are under no such restriction.
Lassiter made a point to say as a 501 (c)(3), the host committee cannot spend any money on political purposes. That’s what the GOP’s Committee on Arrangements will do.
Lassiter also said:
▪ There will be 3,200 separate events scheduled during the week of the convention, from Aug. 24-27. That includes everything from delegation breakfasts to community events.
▪ The convention will recruit more than 8,000 volunteers, all of whom will be subject to background searches. Visitors, he said, “should find this the kindest, most welcoming city on the planet.”
▪ They expect 50,000 visitors for the convention, including 15,000 journalists from around the world.
Lassiter said he expects Charlotte will exceed the $188 million in direct and indirect regional economic impact that the 2016 convention in Cleveland saw.