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Politics

A Proud Day For One Of North Carolina's Republican Leaders

Charlotte will host the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Charlotte will host the 2020 Republican National Convention.

The Republican National Committee formally picked Charlotte today for its 2020 convention. And that's despite considerable hesitation from some of Charlotte's city leaders. Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director for the North Carolina Republican Party, spoke with WFAE’s Nick de la Canal for “All Things Considered” about this tension from Austin, Texas.

NICK DE LA CANAL: So what do you think led to Charlotte winning the convention over Las Vegas today?

DALLAS WOODHOUSE: Well a strong city leadership strong support from the mayor and a number of members of the Council both Republican and Democrat along with the business and the Convention and Visitors Bureau community. Charlotte ended up having the full package. You know, enough hotel rooms, the right facility, the willingness to do the hard work to get the bid and just good, strong community leadership. And there were other cities, you know, so I've been told that — I wasn't in on the selection process itself — that that had some of those elements but it just wasn't, there wasn't anybody that had quite all the elements like Charlotte did.

DE LA CANAL: Well it's funny that you say strong support from Charlotte city leaders and from the mayor because you know we should note when the Charlotte City Council voted this week to endorse the city's bid it was by a razor-thin margin. It was six to five. There was one council member Justin Harlow who said he would sooner invite a Klan rally and the mayor herself did say that she does not have plans to deliver a welcome speech and that she does disagree with the president. I'm just curious did that have any effect or influence on the RNC?

WOODHOUSE: Well clearly not. It's coming.

DE LA CANAL: Was there any concern?

WOODHOUSE: Look, I think this. Most of the big cities in America are governed by Democrats. The fact is a majority of the city council, which is a 9-2 Democrat council, a majority voted to host the RNC. I consider that to be very impressive and an example of us putting partisan politics aside to work for the betterment of Charlotte.

DE LA CANAL: Well, it seems like Charlotte may have been the only serious contender for this convention. Las Vegas was also in the running though they didn't have the full support of their city behind it. What do you make of that?

WOODHOUSE: Well I mean, you know that is not our understanding. You know that the initial list started at seven and it kept getting whittled down because cities didn't have certain things and it got down to two and then Charlotte was the victor. But here's the thing. It doesn't really matter what everybody else wanted. What matters is, is it right for Charlotte and right for North Carolina. That's the only thing that really matters. And, you know, I just think it's a pretty proud day. You know we always hear people say how they want folks to work together. The leadership in Charlotte has done that.

WOODHOUSE: Democrats and Republicans the business community.

DE LA CANAL: And as you noted, you know, a lot of cities are run by Democrats — us included. Have your thoughts about the leadership in Charlotte changed at all [after] seeing how this process was handled.

WOODHOUSE: Well, I'll tell you I'm very impressed with the mayor. She's done a fabulous job. You know, Charlotte has always been sort of a business city first where politics didn't get in the way and it's good to see that tradition continues. And the mayor was greeted to a rock star like welcome by the delegates in Austin, Texas. As you know, she was very, very impressive in her pitch to the delegates.

DE LA CANAL: And so, of course, North Carolina is a swing state. You know the state went for both President Trump and President Obama. Do you think this convention will help Trump's chances here in 2020?

WOODHOUSE: You know, I would love to say that I think on the margins it might help a little but I don't think there is tremendous political benefit from having the convention in your state. You know, in 2012 both candidates lost the state they had their convention. Romney lost Florida, Obama lost North Carolina. I think it helps the volunteers and it helps with excitement because it does the same thing for the other side.