On July 20th, the Republican National Committee announced that Charlotte, North Carolina would be the host city for their national convention. After hosting the 2012 DNC event, the RNC convention is seen as another chance to cement Charlotte’s position as a significant presence on the national stage.
That said, the offer was nearly rescinded prior to the announcement. Of the eleven members of the Charlotte city council, only six of them voted to approve the measure to hold the convention in 2020. A key Democrat swing vote, Larken Egleston, opined about voting in favor of the convention (Los Angeles Times):
“If it were Mitt Romney or damn near anybody besides Donald Trump,” the debate would have been “much less heated.”
“If there was a time machine and people could go back and reconsider whether or not to bid, we might have said, ‘You know what, this is a highly charged time because of a president unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetimes,’ ” he said. “I can imagine people saying, ‘Let’s sit this one out and, you know, maybe we express an interest in 2024.’ “
A Republican council member, Tariq Bokhari, spoke out as well (Charlotte Observer):
“This is a confidential deal. … People don’t want to raise their bid to be known,” he said. “The fact of the matter is seven cities wanted this, they absolutely wanted this, and it was narrowed down to five and then four and then two. And now that we are at the altar it’s just us and Las Vegas, but it’s an absolutely false narrative that no other city wanted this.”
The seven cities referenced are the ones whose representatives attended an “Interested Cities Day” held by the RNC on January 30: Charlotte, Dallas, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Nashville, Phoenix and St. Louis.
Of those, Dallas did not place a bid, citing an inability to meet the criteria requested by the RNC. The City of Las Vegas did not enter a formal bid; instead, the head of the Nevada GOP, Michael McDonald, submitted one. Without having the aid of the city, McDonald’s bid lacked venues in which to hold the event. Milwaukee investigated the RNC convention and instead submitted a bid for the DNC convention. Nashville flatly declined to enter a bid. Phoenix declined to bid, with the official reason given that the city already had enough large events to hold that year and did not want another one. St. Louis officials have no record of submitting a bid.
This left only two venues available: Charlotte and Las Vegas, with Las Vegas providing only a vague sketch of possible arrangements. In response, President Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, approached San Antonio with the request that they submit a late bid. They rejected the idea. (MySanAntonio)
In the end, with the only city-backed bid, Charlotte received the Convention.
Ronna McDaniel, the head of the RNC who had always used her maiden name as part of her identity until directed to do otherwise by Trump (Washington Examiner) was proud to post about the decision on Twitter:
I'm thrilled that Charlotte will be the official host city for the 2020 Republican National Convention! It's the perfect place for our party to re-nominate President @realDonaldTrump and @VP Mike Pence to continue fighting for the American people! https://t.co/fuBj189wch
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) July 20, 2018
As head of the RNC, it is incumbent upon her to wait until after the primary season before declaring an official preference of the party, so as to not officially discourage primary challengers. It would seem that the excitement of having a city willing to host them – however slip the vote margin – made her so giddy that she neglected to pretend at independence from the White House.