Feb 16, 2023 - Politics

Scoop: Nashville will bid on hosting 2028 political conventions

Photo illustration of Nashville Mayor John Cooper with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images

Mayor John Cooper sent letters to the Republican and Democratic national committees Thursday evening to say Nashville will bid on hosting a national political convention in 2028.

  • The letters were cosigned by Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon.
  • The letters came hours after a phone call between Cooper and House Speaker Cameron Sexton, according to a source familiar with the call.

Why it matters: Metro Council rejected a proposal for the city to host the RNC in 2024 and a cascade of bills from Republican lawmakers has targeted Nashville in recent weeks.

  • The letters are a gesture of goodwill to GOP leadership to hopefully improve relations and possibly end the slate of bills affecting the city, a source familiar with the situation says.

State of play: Republicans have filed bills to cut the Metro Council in half, defund the Music City Center, take over the Airport Authority and Sports Authority and abolish runoff elections for local races.

  • City leaders, including Vice Mayor Jim Shulman, have talked to lawmakers about the bills affecting Metro, but the slate of legislation remains on the table.

Flashback: After the Metro Council said no to an agreement to bring the RNC here in 2024, Republicans chose Milwaukee for their convention instead.

  • Some council members had concerns about public safety when they rejected the plan last year, particularly since a convention would be hosted at Bridgestone Arena and the Music City Center in the heart of downtown. The proposal got just eight votes.

What he's saying: Cooper told RNC and DNC leaders that any agreement is contingent on private funds being raised to cover the city's cost and reiterated that Metro Council will have to sign off on any agreement.

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