Republicans holding first presidential debate in Milwaukee

The RNC debates committee decided on Thursday that all candidates must sign a loyalty pledge promising to support the eventual nominee - or not participate in the debates.
Posted at 3:36 PM, Feb 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-23 23:26:07-05

MILWAUKEE — The Republican National Committee is set to hold its first debate for the primary presidential race in Milwaukee in August, TMJ4 news confirmed.

Milwaukee is of course the host city for the Republican National Convention July 15-18, 2024, when party leaders will select a presidential candidate.

The RNC debates committee decided on Thursday that all presidential candidates must sign a loyalty pledge promising to support the eventual nominee - or not participate in the debates, the New York Times reports.

The New York Times cited "people briefed on the matter." According to their report, the debates committee considered the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California as the site for the first Republican presidential primary debate. Apparently, that alternative was rejected.

No other debates have been sanctioned and the final criteria for the first debate have not been decided, according to Ronna McDaniel, the R.N.C. chairwoman, in the report.

The two major candidates so far, former President Donald Trump and former US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, have entered the race for the GOP nomination. The New York Times expects others to jump into the race including Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson in a tweet said, "Today’s announcement is an affirmation Milwaukee is an ideal location to stage a major event. I want our hospitality industry to grow – and for hardworking Milwaukee residents to have even more employment opportunities." The mayor shared the NYT report in his tweet.

Background: Republican National Convention (RNC) coming to Milwaukee

Visit Milwaukee expects the RNC to have an estimated economic impact of just under $200 million and attract nearly 50,000 visitors to Milwaukee.

This is the second time a city has been chosen to host back-to-back conventions and the first since New York City in 1976 and 1980.

Wisconsin is a crucial swing state for both Democrats and Republicans. Joe Biden won the state in 2020 after Donald Trump won it in 2016. Milwaukee, while being a Democratic stronghold, has the infrastructure to host large conventions, regardless of the political party involved.

Milwaukee was chosen to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC), but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the city to hold the convention virtually. It was also a missed opportunity for an economic boost - a benefit the DNC highlighted in their letter to Milwaukee for the 2024 convention. The Democratic National Committee wrote in a letter to the city on July 30, 2021 that this is the "very first step" if Milwaukee's administration was interested in hosting again.

While officially putting Milwaukee in the running for the DNC in September 2021, former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett also expressed interest to the Republicans for the RNC.

By December, the City of Milwaukee officially submitted its bid to host the 2024 RNC.

In March, it came down to Milwaukee and Nashville, Tennessee.

After initial setbacks, on June 1, the Milwaukee Common Council passed 13-0 and Mayor Cavalier Johnson signed the framework agreement for the convention. The plan is used as a way to lay out what thousands of convention goers can expect in terms of services and resources when the RNC takes place in the Brew City.

Johnson and Milwaukee County Supervisor David Crowley spent time trying to convince Republican officials as they visited Brew City.

On July 15, the GOP Site Selection Committee voted to recommend Milwaukee as the host city for the 2024 convention.

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