KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City was not invited to bid on the Democratic National Convention this round, but the City of Fountains is one of about 20 cities invited to bid on the Republican National Convention in 2024.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Las Vegas, Nevada are among the others.
“There is a contingent in Washington today which will be visiting with Republican National Committee,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “The simple view is just this: This is a major league city that has done this work in the past to make sure we are ready for conventions of either party.”
The RNC gives each city a document outlining all of the requirements of the convention. During the bidding process, the cities must prove they can handle the task not only with infrastructure, entertainment and physical needs, but also has the money to put on the convention.
“Kansas City can handle it. T-Mobile Center is set up for it, and all of the surrounding activity is set up for it, so sure Kansas City can handle it,” said political strategist Annie Presley, who said the money will be the biggest challenge.
“It’s just really hard to raise the money and if you don’t have a team that’s super excited about doing it it’s hard to get the money put together it’s a challenge.”
A convention in downtown Kansas City could cost nearly $200 million. About $50 million would come from the federal government for security, the rest would be raised by the city through personal and corporate donations.
“It’s a great way to spruce everything up and make sure the city looks,” Presley said. “Great get every fountain working, fill all the potholes, it’s fantastic just for that reason.”
Hosting a Republican National Convention would set up a perimeter around the convention campus that only credentialed people can access. The bulk of the money will go to renting out every property within that campus, including restaurants and hotel rooms to accommodate the 70,000 people expected to flood into Kansas City if it gets the bid.
Tuesday, Lucas addressed questions about whether the left-leaning politics of Kansas City will be a ding against it moving forward with the RNC.
“To me, it’s not about what my politics are, which are a little different than other folks in the community. It’s about making sure our hoteliers, our restauranteurs and so many people who have taken it on the chin during this pandemic have the chance to make money and doing things like conferences and conventions. That’s what we’re talking about with the bid,” Lucas said.
Visit KC, which takes a lead role in pitches like this, would not comment on the possible bid.
Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe sent the following statement:
“Missouri is a great destination state and Kansas City would be an ideal host city for the 2024 Republican National Convention. Large conventions such as this are good for small businesses and the local economy. The national and worldwide exposure associated with the 2024 RNC would undoubtedly help boost our state’s overall economy.”