Republicans Pick Charlotte For 2020 Convention

Republicans will hold their 2020 National Convention in the same city that hosted the Democrats back in 2012.

The Republican Party has decided that it will hold its 2020 National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, placing it in one of the largest cities in a state that is likely to be one of the battleground states in the next Presidential election:

The Republican National Committee announced Friday that it will hold its 2020 convention in Charlotte, making official a decision that had long been expected by party insiders.

The RNC’s announcement puts the city back in the national spotlight eight years after it hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

“I am thrilled to announce Charlotte as the official host city for the 2020 Republican National Convention,” RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing the Queen City take center stage as the Republican Party re-nominates President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to continue fighting for the American people.”

Ron Kaufman, the RNC’s site selection chairman, described Charlotte as “a city that has demonstrated its southern hospitality, showcased its vibrant energy and proven that possibilities are endless.”

The decision was made in a unanimous vote at the RNC’s summer meeting in Austin. The expected dates of the convention were not immediately known.

Unlike past convention announcements, there was little suspense surrounding Friday’s news, with Charlotte long considered the front-runner.

In January, the RNC held an “interested cities day” gathering. Representatives from seven cities — Charlotte, Dallas, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Nashville, Phoenix and St. Louis — showed up.

But in the end, only Charlotte continued to bid seriously to host the quadrennial GOP confab. One other city, Las Vegas, was also in the running, but the bid was pushed mainly by the Nevada Republican Party; the Las Vegas government and local tourism authority stayed on the sidelines.

On the local level, however, the fierce debate over whether deep-blue Charlotte should host the GOP convention — and with it, presumably, President Trump — reflected the rift that has developed nationally between the Democratic establishment and progressives who have urged their party to take a harder line against the president.

In 2016, President Trump beat Hillary Clinton by just about 180,000 votes in a race that saw the President get less than 50% of the vote while Gary Johnson, the nominee of the Libertarian Party received just over 130,000 votes in the state. Prior to that year, Mitt Romney had beaten President Obama in the Tarheel State in 2012 by less than 100,000 votes after Obama had beaten McCain by just about 20,000 votes in a state that had previously gone Republican in every election since the 1980 election between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Despite the size of Trump’s victory statewide, Charlotte is more Democratic than the rest of North Carolina and, as a result, the idea of a bid for a convention that will presumably renominate Trump for the GOP nomination was controversial to say the least. In the end, though, the city’s Democratic government decided to go forward with the bid due to the economic benefits the convention would likely bring the city.

As for the Republicans, it’s easy to see why they would choose Charlotte as the site of their convention. As it has been for the past three elections, North Carolina is likely to be a battleground state in 2020 and its Electoral Votes will be essential if the President is going to have any chance of being re-elected. While there isn’t always a connection between the location of a party convention and whether or not the nominee wins that state in November, it certainly can’t hurt the prospects of victory especially if it does result in economic benefit to the city and, by extension the state.

On the Democratic side, the Democratic national committee is reportedly considering eight cities as the site for their convention:

The Democratic National Committee is eyeing eight American cities for its 2020 Democratic National Convention, a party official tells CNN.

The DNC sent requests for proposals to a host of cities and received responses from eight: Atlanta; Birmingham, Alabama; Denver; Houston; Miami Beach; Milwaukee; New York; and San Francisco.

“The DNC sent the original letters of interest to a broad list of cities that have traditionally been able to meet the preliminary requirements for serving as a host,” the official said. “We expect the entire selection process to play out over the next year.”

The site of the convention often serves as either a symbolic representation of where the party hopes to perform well in the presidential run or an area that represents certain values the party is looking to project.

The official also said the party will consider event facilities in each city, transportation options and hotel accommodation

Several of these cities are locations that have hosted Republican or Democratic conventions in the past but others, such as Atlanta, Birmingham, and Milwaukee, have not previously hosted such an event. Atlanta and Milwaukee, of course, are both based in states have been competitive in recent Presidential elections so they could be at an advantage in the process, and the same is true of states such as Denver and Miami Beach. Birmingham, on the other hand, is deep in deeply-red Alabama, as is Houston, while New York City and San Francisco are both located in deeply blue states. Whether that will impact the Democratic National Committees decision process remains to be seen, but we should have an answer regarding what the selection is when the DNC holds its national meeting later this summer. All of this means, of course, that the 2020 campaign is getting closer than it might seem at the moment.




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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I hear that they will be passing out Tiki Torches and Khakis to all attendees.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    I travel a fair amount for business and a number of years ago found myself in a hotel bar a couple of weeks after the Republicans had their convention in the city (I honestly can’t remember what city it was). This was at the beginning of the Tea Party movement. I asked the bartender what it had been like and she was a bit reserved in her answer. I then made a comment to the effect that it had been a long time since I voted Republican and that set her off. They got convention, conference and trade shows of all types, but she had never dealt with a nastier more arrogant crowd than this crew. They were lousy tippers and demanded all kinds of special, extra work drinks and food, all the while making it clear they considered the “help” to be beneath them.

    I was in town for a few more days and made it a point to strike up a conversation with any waitstaff, taxi drivers, airport baggage red caps, etc that I could find. They were unanimous. The Republicans in the Tea Party era were the worst collection of *ssholes they had dealt with.

    I’m fairly certain this was not true before Gingrich, and it may not have been true even while he was in power. After all, change in the make up of a political party is generational. People tend to stick with their “team”. But year after year of Gingrich, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck etc had rotted the party from within.

    This is just a long way of saying that maybe North Carolina hosting the convention and seeing what the modern day Republicans are really like may help us on the road to turning more of the South blue.

  3. Gustopher says:

    I would think they wouldn’t want to remind everyone of Charlottesville, but I’m sure they can keep explaining over and over that “no, no, it’s not where the Nazis killed someone and Trump said that there were fine people on both sides… it just sounds like that place.”

    I mean, that will be fine.

  4. An Interested Party says:

    It must be a relief to Republicans that they finally found a city…apparently, quite a few cities were not interested in hosting this event…I can’t imagine why…