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Metro Nashville will reconsider a proposal to host the Republican National Convention, but it might be too late

The Republican National Convention will decide on its 2024 host city this week.
Stephen Jerkins
The Republican National Convention will decide on its 2024 host city this week.

The idea of the Republican National Convention coming to Nashville is not totally off the table.

On Tuesday night, the Metro Council will reconsider a proposal to host the convention in 2024. This comes a month after the local body decided they didn’t want to host either political party.

Both times, Councilmember Robert Swope pitched the idea to his colleagues for Nashville to host the Republican National Convention.

“If my fellow councilmembers say no to this, I know I really wonder who they’re going to say no to next,” he tells WPLN News. “Where does it end?”

But, a month ago, he backed down, and it seemed like the city was out of the game. That is, until Republican state lawmakers and ‘back channels’ started laying it on thick.

They’ve asked the mayor’s office what it would take to seal the deal. So, they pitched a few options — expanding Medicaid in Davidson County, increasing funding for MNPS schools, and allowing inclusionary zoning and impact fees — all to keep the negotiation conversation going.

But, an official with the mayor’s office says the state walked away from the negotiations.

Councilmember Tonya Hancock says she’s even gotten some calls.

“State representatives that are not my state representative have reached out to me just to ask me where I stand on the issue,” she says, “and if there’s anything they can do to help me support it.”

She says nothing will make her change her mind. As a legislative body, she sees it as government overreach for the council to select a specific convention while also rejecting pre-planned conventions.

That rubs Councilmember Swope the wrong way. He says the RNC would pay for one of the smaller conventions to change their plans.

So, he’s trying again with another proposal.

“It’s the right thing to do, to be honest with you,” he says. “We want to be a unique, inclusive, welcoming city. Then, we shouldn’t be saying no to half the country.”

But, the council has said no to the idea of hosting both the Republican and Democratic parties.

The Metro Council will vote at Tuesday’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. The RNC selection committee has already selected Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a finalist to host the convention. The full Republican National Convention committee will make an official selection this week.