By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 05, 2022 at 12:33 PM

(This post has been updated with related news announced later Friday.)

The Republican National Committee officially named Milwaukee as the host city for its 2024 convention on Friday.

"I look forward to working with the members of the Republican National Committee, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, the Milwaukee Host Committee and Visit Milwaukee to deliver an incredible convention for our Party and nominate the next President of the United States," continued RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. 

Specific dates for the convention have not been announced.

Soon after the announcement, organizers ofThe Coalition to March on the RNC, representing political, community, campus and labor groups, announced plans to host a "major demonstration" during the convention in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee was also selected by the Democratic Party for its 2020 convention, though that event shifted mostly online due to the pandemic.

“At VISIT Milwaukee, we promote tourism to generate economic growth that ultimately creates a better, stronger Milwaukee. It’s our job to pursue conventions that don’t just bring us hard dollars, but those that will bring prestige and exposure that will ultimately enhance our reputation as an amazing place to visit, work, and live,” said VISIT Milwaukee President & CEO Peggy Williams-Smith in a statement Friday.

“Bringing this convention to Milwaukee was the result of sustained collaboration from a statewide, bipartisan coalition that deeply loves our community and believes in the results this convention will deliver. We are thrilled to get to work with our community and hospitality partners to help the RNC’s planners pull off their best convention yet.”

VISIT Milwaukee also shared statements by a number of other Milwaukeeans:

Marty Brooks, president and CEO, Wisconsin Center District:

“Large-scale events are everyday business for the Wisconsin Center, Miller High Life Theatre and UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, but having the newly expanded Wisconsin Center featured on the world’s stage during the 2024 RNC is an opportunity which cannot be underestimated. The chance to deliver our signature Bold, Proud, Experience Obsessed level of service to the tens of thousands of attendees and millions of media impressions is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to earn future business for our venues and our city. I can’t wait to show the world what we all already know: Milwaukee is a sensational city with world-class hospitality, and we are ready to give RNC guests and attendees an amazing experience.”

Peter Feigin, president, Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum:

“We are proud for Fiserv Forum to host the Republican National Convention, which will significantly elevate the arena's profile as a world-class venue. The RNC will serve as a great symbol of future growth for Milwaukee and will continue to prominently show that our city and arena can expertly and successfully host premier events."

Tim Sheehy, president, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce:

“We are proud to welcome the Republican National Convention to Milwaukee in 2024. This represents another step forward for our region as an internationally recognized destination with the people, vibrant entertainment venues, infrastructure and expertise it takes to successfully host large-scale events. We congratulate the team at VISIT Milwaukee for their leadership in securing this opportunity. It is remarkable for an American city to secure two straight major party nominating conventions – a ringing endorsement for everything Milwaukee has to offer. This convention will directly benefit Milwaukee businesses and their employees. And it’s another chance for Milwaukee to shine in an international spotlight.”

Michael Evans, president, Marcus Hotels & Resorts:

“It is no surprise Milwaukee is the first choice for the Republican National Convention (RNC) selection committee as there is much to love here – incredible people, gorgeous lakefront, dining for every palate, an inspiring cultural and arts scene and some of the best hotels in the country. As a company and community that have the expertise, spaces, and people to deliver truly memorable experiences, we delight in rolling out the red carpet for our visitors. Our three Milwaukee hotels – The Pfister, Hilton Milwaukee City Center and Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel – along with our restaurants, bars, and surrounding properties in southern Wisconsin, will be ready to welcome the RNC in 2024. Congratulations to Mayor Johnson, the Wisconsin delegation, VISIT Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Center District for their continued success in marketing Milwaukee as a destination of choice.”

Mark Flaherty, managing partner, Jackson Street Holdings:

“Jackson Street Holdings and the Marriott Collection hotels are pleased that Milwaukee has been chosen for the RNC. Great news!”

Rose Murack, general manager, Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West:

“We are ‘over the top’ excited to have Milwaukee host the 2024 RNC! We, as a city, are prepared for it, ready to welcome visitors, and give everyone the best experience possible. This event will bring in thousands of people, staying in our hotels, shopping, visiting our museums, eating in our restaurants, and of course drinking in our bars. A definite moneymaker for all of us, not only Milwaukee, but all the surrounding suburbs as well will benefit from Milwaukee hosting the RNC. The long-term positive impact on our community will be far reaching as well. Welcome to Milwaukee, RNC! Great choice for the 2024 convention!  

Himanshu Parikh, owner, Country Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn & Suites at Milwaukee Airport

“The 2024 RNC will give us an opportunity to showcase the development and transformation of Milwaukee over the last two decades. This conference will put Milwaukee on the map for future development and world travel. Trusting Milwaukee’s ability to host a conference of this magnitude portrays confidence and support to re-ignite hotel investments in Milwaukee and a reward to the hard work and efforts of the service industry team.”

Shari Black, CEO, Wisconsin State Fair

“Milwaukeeans and Wisconsinites are humble about our great city and state because that’s in our nature, but we have world-class restaurants, amazing entertainment venues, and of course the best Fairs and Festivals in the country! This city knows how to entertain, and considering the recent resurgence of the hospitality industry, this is the perfect time to host an event like the RNC. Attendees will add even more fuel to this resurgence, which in turn will create more opportunities within the industry. The economic footprint this event creates will have a lasting impact for many years to come and we can’t wait to be part of it.”

Don Smiley, chief executive officer, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.

“For many members in our hospitality, service, and entertainment industries, hosting a monumental event like the 2024 Republican National Convention will have an unequivocal positive impact on our community. Milwaukee has a legacy of hosting large scale events, bringing the community together, and showcasing our reputation as the City of Festivals. We look forward to working with the RNC, VISIT Milwaukee and others as we welcome thousands of attendees to our great city.”

Paul Bartolotta, two-time James Beard Award-Winning Chef and Owner/Co-Founder of The Bartolotta Restaurants

 “With the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to excellence in hospitality and our best-in-class service to the thousands of visitors that will be experiencing our city for the first time. I’m looking forward to working with our incredible partners and the businesses that comprise the fabric of our community as we once again show why Milwaukee is the ideal destination for events taking place on the global stage.”

Kurt Fogle, partner, Dairyland Old-Fashioned Hamburgers & Frozen Custard

“We should highlight Milwaukee’s potential every way we can, and at every opportunity. The RNC, like the DNC, or an all-star game, Super Bowl, or any other national championship brings us all kinds of people who otherwise might not think to visit Milwaukee. I believe if the world sees what we see, it will secure Milwaukee’s inclusion among the world-class cities.”

Omar Shaikh, owner of Carnevor and co-owner/founder of 3rd Street Market Hall

“While the 2024 Republican National Convention will provide an immediate economic boost to the hospitality industry, the exposure this convention brings will benefit our city for years to come. This convention will spur growth in Milwaukee which will in turn create a stronger metro area. I couldn’t be more proud to welcome this convention to our amazing city.”

Bobby Wiltgen, owner/co-founder, Cream City Concepts

“We are thrilled to be able to help showcase how amazing Milwaukee is on an international stage! As a company we have built three restaurants and five Airbnb units within a block from the Fiserv Forum. We are locally owned, putting dollars back into our local economy. Our entire team, from ownership, management and front-line staff are grateful to be able to be a part of the Great Milwaukee Narrative. This is an ongoing story of hard work, humility, dedication to our craft, and supporting our city with our hearts and souls. Speaking from my heart personally, this is all part of an American Dream that is continually unfolding for me. And I am thankful to have the chance to experience it. Having this caliber of convention Milwaukee isn’t about politics, it’s about how Milwaukee is no longer a secret when it comes to events, entertainment, dining, and tourism. I believe the Cream City Concepts team truly embodies the heart, soul, and values of Milwaukee, and we’re ready to show it for the world.”

David Caruso, owner, Dynamic Events by David Caruso

“This is a game changer for our city! The positive impact on our neighborhoods, the people, and our businesses, will be immeasurable. It’s an opportunity for all of us to work together and to welcome the RNC with open arms. Get ready, Milwaukee – our moment has arrived!”

Theresa Nemetz, owner, Milwaukee Food & City Tours

“The opportunity for Milwaukee to shine during RNC not only is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our city but will have a ripple effect for years to come. Visitors as well as viewers at home will have the chance to explore Milwaukee and return for more in-depth vacations with their families and corporate meetings with their clients in the future. Whether our role with RNC will be to provide transportation, tours, or logistical support, we cannot wait to welcome RNC delegates and attendees to Milwaukee in 2024.”

Others issued statements regarding the convention announcement on Friday, too, including:

Voces de la Frontera

"On Friday, Milwaukee was approved to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, an alarming decision that normalizes an organization that has embraced white supremacy, authoritarianism, and acts of political violence. Hosting the RNC in Milwaukee rejects the voices and concerns of Milwaukee’s Black, Brown, and immigrant communities and the members of the LGBTQ+ community, people who value free and fair elections, and organizations who publicly opposed the RNC’s embrace of racist and xenophobic policies, anti-worker policies and attacks on women’s rights and LGBTQ rights."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.