Oct 6, 2022 - News

Nashville could be an RNC 2028 contender

Illustration of a podium casting a shadow in the shape of an exclamation point.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nashville said no to bringing the Republican National Convention here in 2024, but the prospect of hosting in 2028 is still on the table.

Context: Politico reported this spring that the Republican National Committee could begin selecting the next host city by the end of the year.

Flashback: Metro Council rejected an agreement to host the convention in 2024, with opponents citing concerns about safety and the possibility of violent political protests.

  • The RNC ultimately selected Milwaukee.

Driving the news: Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon confirms to Axios that his organization asked the RNC about bidding on the 2028 convention. Spyridon says the RNC gave a deadline of Oct. 15 for Nashville to submit an application.

  • "Whether or not the city does so is still to be determined," Spyridon says.

Zoom out: House Speaker Cameron Sexton tells Axios he is closely watching how Nashville responds. Sexton and other top Republicans were angry after the council voted against the 2024 hosting agreement.

Meanwhile: Sexton tells Axios that there has been discussion about legislation next year to reduce the size of the Metro Council, which is one of the largest city councils in the nation with 35 district members and five countywide members.

  • "That's one of the things that's been discussed, and I'm sure there are other things that will be filed as well," Sexton says, adding he doesn't have details to share about what size might be proposed. He says there have also been talks about state funding for Metro road projects.
  • He did not say the city must advance an RNC proposal or face repercussions, but he added: "We have a good relationship with everybody else, and we thought we had a pretty good one with Metro and Mayor [John] Cooper until recently," Sexton added. "It's in Metro's best interest to have a working relationship with the state."

The other side: Cooper spokesperson TJ Ducklo says, "Nashville is open for business, but there has been no meaningful effort or engagement to address any of the concerns raised since Metro Council's vote just a few months ago."

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