The question lingers—Will Charlotte host RNC?

Every day there is uncertainty about coronavirus and its impact on the economy is a day closer to the scheduled Republican National Convention in Charlotte. But NYT reports even Republican lawmakers are becoming uneasy:

President Trump has made clear that he wants a traditional political convention in Charlotte, N.C., in late August, with thousands of sign-waving delegates from out of state filling an arena to acclaim his renomination.

But in North Carolina, they are not so sure. Even the Republicans.

As the relaxing of shutdown orders across the country leads to alarming projections of a surge in coronavirus cases, some leaders of the president’s party in the state that is hosting the convention are striking a less rosy view.

“I think it’s very clear it may not be possible to host a convention as planned,” said Edmund H. Driggs, a Republican member of the Charlotte City Council.

Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte, is the hardest hit in the state by the virus, with more than 1,900 cases and 58 deaths as of Friday. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, announced this week the partial lifting on Friday of a stay-at-home order, the first of three phases to reopen the state. But under the governor’s timeline, the full return of businesses and a green light for mass gatherings may not occur before midsummer.

“Clearly if we’re a couple months away from opening businesses in Mecklenburg County, then that would be very difficult to host the convention,” Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said last week.

NYT noted that in late April the Charlotte City Council–by a 6-5 margin–voted to accept a $50 million Justice Department grant for convention security. Though the debate over the grant morphed into a debate over whether or not to hold the convention– (a moot point, since the contracts have already been signed)—the lure of “free money” is still too strong:

When faced with the opposition against taking the funds, some pointed out that measure being voted upon was about fiscal responsibility, not about hosting the convention itself.

“A no-vote tonight does not cancel the convention,” said council member Larken Egleston. “It does not somehow abdicate us of our financial responsibilities here. It, in fact, only further puts us on the hook with our own dollars to pay for the same things we could have paid for with federal dollars.”

Stay tuned…..this question will linger over our state throughout the summer.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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