NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After a month's long slog, Tuesday night, Metro Council members voted against hosting the Republican National Convention in Nashville.
Members voted 10-22-3. Five council members weren't present for the vote.
The issue hasn't been one without contention, with Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly and Gov. Bill Lee lobbying for the convention to happen in Nashville. However, the convention can't happen in the city unless Metro Council signs off on the security arrangements. Metro Councilman Robert Swope originally had the agreement on the table in early July, but pulled it to have more time to work on the security makeup of the legislation.
"No matter what the perceived political climate, Nashville will remain the most inclusive city in America," Swope said. "Consider the long-term impact. They will operate under MNPD and the guidance of Homeland Security and Capitol Police. I am confident we can handle the RNC. In a conversation with Charles Stark, the RNC hasn't chosen its firm dates yet. The best case is we shift one convention. The real and present danger is hurting our international status. Nominating conventions are world-class events. There's only one question to ask: if you say 'no,' which half of the country will you say 'no' to next year? What consequences are we inviting into our city? I believe the future of Nashville is at stake."
He is the only one who spoke on the agreement bill.
Later last month, the Republican National Convention site selection committee picked Milwaukee, as it was the only agreement in the pool. The RNC started its annual meeting this week, which will last until Friday. The RNC will ultimately vote on the location Friday. Both Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said the legislature would consider a special-called session for the Tennessee General Assembly if Nashville council members voted against the RNC agreement. A special session is largely off the table now, lawmakers alluded.
"Obviously we're fairly disappointed in the vote and the decision made by the Nashville city council," Tennessee GOP executive director Scott Golden said. "We appreciate the hard work of Gov. Lee, Gov. Haslam and the bipartisan group that was put together to try and get both political conventions to Nashville. Unfortunately, the city council chose petty partisan politics over what was good for the city and the state in having a historical opportunity to host a national political convention. It's disappointing for the effort that was made and the time invested to secure an event of this magnitude for the city council to decide that they didn't want Republicans coming to the city of Nashville."
Previously, the Tennessee GOP and the Tennessee Democratic Party chairs both said they would like conventions for both parties to come to Nashville in the next decade.
However, some council members have been vocal they don't want to see the convention come to Nashville regardless.