CHARLOTTE – Over his first 17 months as chairman of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party, Chris Turner put in many hours of work in his volunteer role.
But that role will only grow larger as the city prepares to hold the 2020 nominating convention in Charlotte, where it is expected the party will nominate President Donald Trump for a second term.
For Turner and his fellow Mecklenburg County Republicans, that means finding the anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 volunteers to help run the convention. The convention is expected to attract 50,000 people to Charlotte and have a huge economic impact on the area.
The Republican Party has not yet selected a date for its 2020 convention but it is likely that it will be held late August of that year.
“I had zero idea that we would be doing this 18 months ago,” Turner said.
Turner and the local GOP organization has already hit the ground running. In early August, the party hosted several dozen new volunteers for a campaign training seminar for the upcoming November elections and the convention in two years.
“That was the largest single training, outside of a convention, that the state party has seen in its history,” Turner said. “We got 55 new people into a room for a very detailed training. We want to get those volunteers involved now. That is our main goal right now, keep people engaged, keep the excitement levels.
“We are already seeing some significant positive impact on the local party just by being able to give people a space to come and talk about their Republican values.”
With the convention still two years away, Turner is not sure what other roles the local party will play at the convention.
“What our role will be is loosely defined right now,” Turner said. “We joke around with our local grassroots people that nobody should expect to be the person to escort President Trump on stage for his acceptance speech. This is an RNC event. We expect them to plan and execute the convention. We will have a part, and I am sure we will have more roles as we get closer and once a bigger committee gets named.”
Turner said he jumped into his role as chairman because of his love for Charlotte. He is elated that the RNC picked Charlotte as the host city for its 2020 national convention.
“I came into this role really inspired to get engaged because of all the negativity that our local politicians from the Democratic side were putting on us because of the unnecessary local ordinance. They were playing politics with our quality of life in Charlotte,” Turner said. “I love the city more than anything else. I want to do everything that I can to elect people that care for the city. I want to build our brand and influence as a local party. That was the main driver.”