Milwaukee leaders 'rolled out the red carpet' during RNC committee site visit

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee put its best foot forward with the Republican National Convention selection committee in town this week. The city is in the final three to host the 2024 convention.

VISIT Milwaukee hosted the committee for a site visit this week.

"It was a whirlwind trip and it went really well," said Claire Koenig, director of communications for VISIT Milwaukee. "They loved it. We could see it on their faces."

The RNC organizers got to hit the big three - hotels, venues and dining. City leaders say Milwaukee is the perfect host, and they're not shying away from the chance to bring in nearly $200 million and 45-thousand visitors.

With 24 hours to put on a great show, city leaders showcased all the Brew City has to offer.

"There was nothing not to love, by the way that our partners -- at venues, at hotels, at restaurants -- pulled out the stops to welcome them and made sure we truly rolled out the red carpet for them," Koenig said.

The committee wined and dined in Milwaukee's finest establishments, toured hotels and got to experience the city's best venues, like the Riverside Theater.

"I thought it was a really good kind of behind-the-scenes feel of what Milwaukee is like and what entertainment's like in Milwaukee. I think they have a really good understanding that Milwaukee as a city -- just as we are as a venue -- are incredibly authentic and I think that's what they're looking for," said Gary Witt, CEO of the Pabst Theater Group.

If the city gets the bid, the convention would be at Fiserv Forum and utilize the full Wisconsin Center District. The expansion is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024. But there are still two other cities in the mix.

"Right now, the RNC has to decide between take the money and run, which is Salt Lake City or Nashville, or do it for political reasons, and that's Milwaukee," said Mordecai Lee, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Political experts question whether Milwaukee has the facilities needed for a convention of this size, following the same questions during the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

But city leaders note that the RNC is smaller than the DNC and said they'll have enough hotel rooms.

"We have roughly 20,000 in the Greater Milwaukee area. That works for them," Koenig said.

VISIT Milwaukee leaders said they do not have any news to report on the 2024 Democratic National Convention. The DNC has not sent a request for proposal to the city. 

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