Aug 2, 2022 - News

Last call for RNC legislation in Metro Council

Illustration of Nashville City Hall with lines radiating from it.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

After several weeks of debate and legislative plot twists, the Metro Council is poised to vote on a last-ditch agreement to bring the Republican National Convention to Nashville in 2024.

Why it matters: The 2024 RNC will serve either as the triumphant return of former president Trump or the coronation of a new leader of a party seemingly in a solid position for a presidential race.

  • Time is of the essence, because the Republican National Committee board is meeting this week. Absent any progress in the council, the committee could deliver the convention for Milwaukee.

Flashback: A similar proposal was withdrawn by Councilman Robert Swope last month, and a selection committee has already recommended that Milwaukee host the RNC in two years.

  • That seemed to put the issue to rest, but backers have not gone silently into the night.

Driving the news: Swope refiled the legislation, and both carrots and sticks have been offered to council in recent weeks by convention backers hoping to salvage the bill and deliver the convention to Music City.

Between the lines: Supporters say Metro Council should advance the measure for economic development reasons. They point out Republicans have collaborated with Metro leaders on initiatives such as funding for a new Titans stadium and financing to renovate the fairgrounds racetrack.

The other side: Metro Councilmember Bob Mendes says hosting the RNC brings security risks. He points to the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol and worries similar violent demonstrations could hit downtown Nashville.

Context: Mayor John Cooper also has expressed safety concerns. A Cooper spokesperson declined to comment yesterday, referring to previous statements about the mayor's reservations.

  • But, in a case of actions speaking louder than words, multiple sources tell Axios the Cooper administration is not lobbying council members to vote for Swope's legislation.
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