RNC Countdown: Milwaukee getting ready with volunteers, vendors for next summer's convention

Political Reporter Charles Benson talks exclusively with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel about 2024 convention preps and next month's 'test run' for the city.
Posted at 2:15 PM, Jul 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-18 15:15:02-04

MILWAUKEE — Get ready for all the people, planning, and politics coming to Milwaukee for the Republican National Convention next summer.

One year from now, Milwaukee will be the center of the political world.

"There's a lot to do when you're putting on a convention of this size," said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

2024 RNC: One-on-one with Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

It was nearly a year ago Chairwoman McDaniel picked Milwaukee to host its 2024 national convention, with an estimated economic impact that could approach $200 million.

Her to-do list includes getting staff into position and signing up volunteers and vendors to accommodate 50,000 visitors on the MKE 2024 Host Committee portal.

"This is for Wisconsin and Milwaukee businesses, and we already have about 800 that have filled out the paperwork to be part of this historic convention," said McDaniel.

Before the convention, Milwaukee will get the first Republican presidential debate on Aug. 23 at Fiserv Forum.

McDaniel says 100 business vendors have already signed up to feature their products to visiting RNC delegates from around the country.

Chuck Todd on 2024 RNC in Milwaukee

"I think it'll give us a good test run, the city's going to test run their security, and transportation. We're going to have a huge amount of media interest. We're going to have the entire RNC membership there as well,168 members of the RNC," said McDaniel.

The question now: Who will be on the debate stage?

Former President Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in a diverse field of GOP candidates that now numbers more than a dozen, but Trump has suggested he may not attend.

"Is it still a relevant debate if the former president is not here," asked Political Reporter Charles Benson.

"Charles, I have no idea if he's going to be on the stage," said McDaniel. "At the end of the day, I think it's going to be must-see TV. And we're going to have a lot of eyes on that debate, and I hope President Trump is part of that."

Tickets for the debate are not yet available.

McDaniel also knows the headlines next year will be all about the presidential nominee - but she's also thinking about the bottom line for businesses.

"We want to showcase your great State, but we also want the people of Milwaukee to have us leave and say this was a value add," said McDaniel.

The Republican National Convention runs July 15-18. Democrats will gather for their national convention in Chicago August 19 -22.