MILWAUKEE (WLS) -- Republicans on Friday chose Milwaukee in swing state Wisconsin to host the 2024 national convention, beating out Nashville in deep-red Tennessee.
Wisconsin is considered a key battleground state and republicans are hoping to capitalize on their convention.
"The 2024 Republican National Convention will be held in the great city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin," said Ronna McDaniel, Republican National Committee chairwoman, to cheers from party delegates who had gathered in Chicago for their summer meeting.
The decision in favor of Milwaukee was announced at the Republican National Committee's summer meeting in Chicago, following months of wrangling by Wisconsin and Tennessee to land the convention where the party's next presidential candidate will be officially nominated.
Milwaukee was the pick of the RNC's site selection committee in July. Awarding the convention to Milwaukee was all but sealed after opposition in Nashville lead to that city's council on Tuesday rejecting a draft agreement for hosting the event.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper and others expressed concerns about security, the economic trade-off of having to mostly shut down the bustling downtown except for convention activity as well as the implications of tying up city resources for the event.
Now, Republicans are bringing their convention to the battleground state of Wisconsin, with an eye on far more than 2024.
"It's a purple state. We obviously hope that we'll be able to influence Wisconsin voters to support our nominees. We hope that it will help with the elections this year," said Anne Hathaway, RNC Site Selection Ctte Chair, who is a national committeewoman from Indiana.
Milwaukee was the Democrats' choice for 2020, but due to COVID, the convention went virtual. The city's Democratic mayor ready now to welcome the other party.
"I'm so pleased to share a moment of bipartisanship because I'm just from Wisconsin, but in America, we need more of that," said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.
"I think what you saw on the stage, were Democrats and Republicans together, saying, hey, let's just get together. We got a lot more in common and let's just work together for the benefit of each other. So I'm excited," said Demetra Demonte, RNC committeewoman from Chicago.
There is a bit of irony in the announcement being made in Chicago, given that Republicans have frequently bashed this city over crime and democratic policies. But GOP leaders dismissed that.
"This is where our summer meeting is that we make the announcement at the summer meeting. I had a lot of great meetings in Chicago when I was chairman of the RNC. I'm from Kenosha and I love coming to Chicago in the summer. It's a great city," said Reince Priebus, RNC host committee chair and former White House chief of staff for President Donald Trump.
"Chicago is in the center of our country and sends a message that we're looking for voters in every pocket, every corner to make sure our candidates win," said committeewoman Hathaway.
As to whether Donald Trump will run and could be the 2024 GOP nominee?
"I'm not even gonna go there because and I've been using this Green Bay analogy all day: you don't talk about the Super Bowl till you win the playoffs. And '22 is just too important for us to skip over it and talk about 2024," said chairwoman McDaniel.
Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016, but lost to Biden by a nearly identical margin in 2020.
Wisconsin could determine who wins in 2024, while Tennessee has not backed a Democrat for president since 1996. But choosing Milwaukee is in line with recent Republican choices for the convention. For two decades, Republicans have placed their nominating convention in swing states - North Carolina, Ohio and Florida.
Democrats are still in the process of deciding where to hold their convention. Chicago is among the contenders and local leaders have made a major push to make the second city the Democratic National Committee's first choice.
The Associated Press contributed to this post.