CHARLOTTE – For months, Charlotte was seen as the front runner to host the 2020 Republican National Convention and there was little organized opposition for the city hosting a national convention for the second time in a decade.
But when it appeared that Charlotte would be the choice of Republicans to host a convention that is expected to nominate President Donald Trump for second term, opposition increased.
That opposition for Charlotte hosting the convention ended July 16 when the Charlotte City Council voted 6-5 to extend an invitation to host the Republicans and reap the economic benefits it will bring to the Queen City.
The Republican National Committee was expected to announce the location of the convention during its summer meeting, but that did not occur before South Charlotte Weekly’s deadline.
According to Charlotte City Councilman Ed Driggs, the Republican site selection committee has recommended Charlotte to the national committee. Also, Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald publicly congratulated Charlotte on Twitter.
The Democratic National Convention is set for July 13 to 16. The RNC will most likely be after the 2020 Summer Olympics, which begins July 24 and ends Aug. 9 of that year.
The July 16 vote by the
Charlotte City Council allows the city manager to enter into contracts with the RNC and the Host Committee.
South Charlotte Republicans Ed Driggs and Tariq Bokhari and Democrats Larken Egleston, Julie Eiselt, Greg Phipps and James Mitchell voted in favor of Charlotte hosting the convention. Democrats Justin Harlow, Braxton Winston, Dimple Ajmera, LaWana Mayfield and Matt Newton all opposed hosting the Republicans.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles spearheaded the city’s bid. Lyles, a Democrat, said it was the most difficult political decision of her career.
“Hosting the RNC is not an endorsement of the administration,” Lyles said after the vote.
Driggs noted the bid has been in the spotlight for months and that only Mayfield had voiced opposition to hosting the convention until recently.
“I don’t support it because I am a Republican,” Driggs said. “I support it out of my concern and love for our country and its democratic institutions. I served in the United States Military. It was not during a time of war but I was prepared to go to war and defend those institutions and our country. I think that it is absolutely most important at a difficult time like this that we continue to respect those institutions. We don’t make exceptions. We don’t abandon the things on which our democracy is based because we don’t like a man.”
The special meeting of the city council lasted almost four hours as more than 100 people spoke in favor of and against hosting the convention.
Voices against hosting the convention ranged from opposition to President Trump and the Republican Party to security concerns as thousands of protesters could converge on Charlotte. Supporters cited the economic impact of the convention on Charlotte and the fact that Charlotte hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention and it should do the same for the Republican Party.