Metro Council withdraws bill to support Republican National Convention coming to Nashville

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 23:18:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A bill before Metro Council to approve the agreement for the Republic National Convention to come to Nashville was removed from the agenda.

Metro Councilwoman Sharon Hurt confirmed with NewsChannel 5 that the bill was removed prior to the meeting. Originally an administrative bill from Mayor John Cooper's office, the bill was carried by Councilman Jonathan Hall and Councilman Robert Swope.

Whether the city would want to agree to host the convention has caused quite a stir among elected officials. More than a week ago, both leaders of the Tennessee GOP and the Tennessee Democratic Party came out asking for both the RNC and the Democratic National Convention to be held in Nashville at some point during the next decade.

Swope told NewsChannel 5 that he withdrew the bill because of security issues that need addressing between the RNC and Metro.

Swope said the bill was taken off the agenda at the request of the RNC and host committee. He said he hoped it was back on the agenda in mid-July when those details were ironed out.

"There's been talk about possible retribution from the state," Councilman Bob Mendes wrote on social media Tuesday night. "Though I've only heard third-hand speculation about this, I understand there may be fallout. Hopefully, the city's decision that it's not the right time to host a national political convention is respected."

However, members of the RNC Nashville 2024 Host Committee said in a statement they were hopeful for when the legislation is refiled.

"This evening we asked Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s administration to withdraw legislation to approve a contract for Nashville to host the Republican Nashville Convention and allow for additional time to address multiple concerns and objections expressed by Metro Council for the event to take place in Nashville in 2024," members said in a statement. "It is our optimistic view that Nashville is the ideal American city to host one or both of our nation’s nominating conventions and to demonstrate to the world its ability to host civil and respectful public discourse on issues vital to the future of our country. As concerns are sufficiently addressed, we hope that Mayor Cooper and Metro Council leaders will refile the legislation at its next meeting this month."

Mayor John Cooper's office said late Tuesday night hours after the decision that he agreed with how the bill was handled.

“For months, Mayor Cooper has expressed serious concerns, both privately and publicly, about the cost and security challenges of either party’s convention coming to Nashville, and respects the decision to withdraw the ordinance," officials in the mayor's office said.

Milwaukee is also a contender for the convention. That city's council unanimously approved an agreement welcoming the RNC, according to CBS 58.

Jason Lamb contributed to this report.