Gov. Lee interested in bringing GOP convention to Nashville

By: - June 2, 2020 11:10 am

CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 21: An attendee holds a sign in support of Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Gov. Bill Lee is interested in rerouting the Republican Nashville Convention from Charlotte, where the event has faced questions from Democratic political leaders, to Nashville this summer, a source confirmed to Tennessee Lookout.

Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp President and CEO Butch Spyridon said he has not had any discussions with the GOP about moving the event here.

Butch Spyridon (Submitted)
Butch Spyridon (Submitted)

“We are aware of the interest from Gov. Lee’s office. We have not had any official contact with the RNC at this time,” said Spyridon.

Politico first reported that GOP leaders planned to visit Nashville this week for a tour in advance of possibly moving the event, which typically attracts thousands of people.

According to Politico, Nashville is one of several locations being considered. Las Vegas, Orlando, Jacksonville and Georgia are other options according to the Politico story.

Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn posted on Twitter shortly after news of the discussions broke on Politico, “We’d love to have the GOP Convention in Nashville!”

Nashville is in phase two of Mayor John Cooper’s reopening plan. Currently small gatherings are allowed up to 25 people.

National reporting has indicated both conventions are working to figure out how to hold their election year event with Democrats reportedly pondering a virtual event without in-person attendees. 

The GOP has been forced to reconsider Charlotte as a convention site as Gov. Roy Cooper has been resistant to a large scale gathering, and the state’s top health official said a packed event is unlikely to happen because of safety concerns around COVID-19.

Tennessee Lookout is seeking a comment from Lee’s administration and from Ryman Hospitality, which operates the city’s other large convention space, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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Nate Rau
Nate Rau

Nate Rau has a granular knowledge of Nashville’s government and power brokers, having spent more than a decade with the Tennessean, navigating the ins and outs of government deals as an investigative reporter. During his career at The Tennessean and The City Paper, he covered the music industry and Metro government and won praise for hard-hitting series on concussions in youth sports and deaths at a Tennessee drug rehabilitation center. In a state of Titans and Vols fans, Nate is an unabashed Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs fan.