The bidding came down to two heavily Democratic cities for hosting the 2024 Republican National Convention.
Nashville turned up its nose, and Milwaukee said thank you very much.
On Friday, about a week after the Tennessee capital's Metro Council removed from its agenda legislation that would have opened the door for the convention, a GOP site selection committee recommended the party choose the Wisconsin city.
Nashville officials have made statements about security, about locking down the central city and about having to move other conventions, but those are just excuses.
The city's liberal council members don't like the party's stances and made that clear in a letter to state Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden.
In the letter, it mentions the undersigned members don't like state action on the likes of abortion, protest restrictions, immigration, school vouchers and a state charter school board.
Never mind that the majority of Tennesseans are behind the GOP. The letter, according to the Nashville Tennessean, questions whether the state party will "continue to be outwardly hostile in intent and actions" toward Nashville's ability to legislate and effect policies to address growth and meet the needs of the city's residents and visitors.
"If we were to join forces to host this event," the letter reads, "it would be important to have assurances that this is a true partnership built on mutual interest and respect."
Nashville's mayor, John Cooper, also had inexplicably raised concerns that the convention could bring in a "post-Jan. 6 environment."
"This is a new world, this is a new version of the party," a source close to the mayor told NBC News. "It's going to be a dynamic unlike any other dynamic we have seen."
(The federal government kicks in at least $50 million for security for cities that host the national conventions.)
Republicans, anticipating the withdrawal of the paperwork, cited politics.
"The council members, they'll come up with all these excuses, but the bottom line is they're still Democrats," James Garrett, GOP chair of Davidson County, told NBC. "They'll do anything they can to keep a Republican convention from coming here."
Nashville Metro Councilman Robert Swope, one of those on the body who originally supported bringing the convention, said the decision shouldn't come down to politics.
"This isn't a matter of political preference," he said. "This is a matter of a good business decision. It comes down to nonpartisan unity."
When Nashville withdrew the paperwork that would give the city the go-ahead, it also waved goodbye to an expected economic impact of some $200 million.
Milwaukee, on the other hand, is only too happy to host the convention and reap the benefits.
Mayor Cavalier Johnson, a Democrat, said the city's bid for the convention wasn't about politics, about which some in the Badger State — like the council members in Nashville — had tried to cast the decision.
"This isn't a Democratic decision, or a Republican decision. This is a business decision," he said. "Just because we are a welcoming city to the Republicans doesn't mean we are signing up for the Republican Party's platform."
The Milwaukee Common Council, which no one would mistake for a conservative political body, approved the city's bid unanimously prior to Nashville's action.
VISIT Milwaukee CEO Peggy Williams-Smith also had a clearer vision of what a national political convention could do for a city than the Nashville officials.
The direct benefits would be short-lived, she said, but the benefits of so many first-time visitors coming and the resulting media exposure would increase the city's tourism business over the long term.
One advantage Milwaukee has over Nashville, at least according to recent Republican national conventions, is that it is in a swing state. From 1988 to 2012, Wisconsin's presidential electoral votes went to Democrats. But in 2016, it narrowly went for Republican candidate Donald Trump. And in 2020, it narrowly went for Democrat Joe Biden.
It served as the host site for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, but due to the coronavirus pandemic that was largely a virtual affair.
The city also has the relatively new (2018) Wisconsin Center in which to host the GOP, and that arena is already getting a $20 million expansion expected to be completed in early 2024.
The convention is expected to bring in about 45,000 people and the aforementioned economic impact that Nashville eschewed.
Tennessee, rated the ninth most Republican state by the Cook Partisan Voting Index, would have been an ideal place for the Republican Convention. Since 1950, it has voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 14 out of 18 elections. And in 2020, only three counties in the state did not vote for the Republican candidate for president.
But Nashville said, no, that's not enough evidence for us. Take your $200 million. And Milwaukee said yes — yes we will.