Updated: 3:45 p.m.
The Republican National Committee announced Monday that its nominating convention in Charlotte will be held Aug. 24-27.
In picking late August for the RNC, the committee has created an unusual gap of five-and-a-half weeks between the two major party’s nominating conventions.
The 2020 Democratic National Convention will be held July 13-16 in either Houston, Miami or Milwaukee.
The summer Olympics will be held in late July and early August, and then there is another two weeks before the Republicans convene in Charlotte.
Four years ago, both conventions were held in a 10-day window in July. The two conventions eight years ago were also back-to-back.
This is the longest gap between major conventions in at least 40 years.
“What’s interesting is that first you have the Olympics in between these conventions, but the Republicans chose to go two weeks even after the Olympics finished, and rally buttress against the traditional start of the campaign with Labor Day,” Catawba College political science professor Michael Bitzer said.
At a news conference at the Charlotte Convention Center, Republican officials like Congressman Richard Hudson praised Charlotte as a host city – as well as the strong economy under President Trump.
“What’s really exciting to me is that we get to be front and center when we re-nominate Donald Trump and Mike Pence as president and vice president of the United States,” said Republican Congressman Richard Hudson of Concord. “What an incredible record of achievement in less than two short years.”
The RNC has said it plans to use the Spectrum Center for the main convention activities, and the Convention Center will be the media headquarters. That was the set-up used for the 2012 DNC.
But the RNC also has the option of using other venues like Bojangles’ Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium. Officials didn’t say whether they are considering using Bank of America Stadium, which is owned by the Carolina Panthers – not the city. Eight years ago, the Democrats planned to nominate Barack Obama at the stadium, but decided at the last minute to move the event inside.
Eight years ago, the Charlotte host committee for the DNC had to raise about $37 million – and fell about $8 million short.
For the RNC, the local host committee has a more ambitious fundraising target of $70 million. But the GOP has not prohibited corporate donations to the convention, as the Democrats did in 2012.
Toni Anne Dahsiell of Texas, who is leading the convention efforts, said fundraising has already begun. She didn’t say how much money has been raised.
“It’s is moving along just as planned,” she said. “Now, I can tell you we have money in the bank, and that we are using it wisely and being fiscally responsible.”
Monday’s event was the first public RNC-related event since the City Council voted 6-5 in July to host the GOP.
Democratic Mayor Vi Lyles, who has championed the city’s bid, sat on the podium with state and national Republicans. Under pressure from Democratic activists, she has said she will not give a welcoming speech at the RNC, which is customary for host mayors.
“We are actually very excited about the opportunity and people say, ‘Why?’” Lyles said. “And so this what, when I talk about this, I say the why is because number one, we are a democratic nation. It just gets to be an opportunity for Charlotte to brag about being one of the cities that can host both the Republican and the Democratic national conventions. One of 11.”
Four other City Council members also attended the announcement: Republicans Ed Driggs and Tariq Bokhari, and Demcorats Larken Egleston and Braxton Winston.
Winston was the only one of the four to vote against hosting. During the debate, he said he felt President Trump was an “avatar of white supremacy.”
Winston said he attended Monday’s announcement on a fact-finding mission.
“I’m a big advocate for taking a seat at the table,” he said an interview. “You aren’t always going to enjoy the meal, but that’s part of being a leader. I definitely feel the same way about the politics.”