The mayor is standing by her decision to support having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte for 2020.
Lyles met with the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County to make a speech on the topic. She cited economic mobility and inclusion as reasons to support the city’s bid for the event.
After the speech, the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County voted to oppose her support of hosting the next RNC.
“We are getting close,” she tells them. “And I’m not going to be naive enough to think that Vegas can beat Charlotte at anything. Except maybe gambling.”
Lyles, a Democrat, says Senator Thom Tillis brought the idea of an RNC bid up, right after she was elected. She ran it by council in March, saying at the time, all but one were in support.
“There were 10 people who said, yes let’s move forward,” she says. “And so we did.”
But recently, council members LaWana Mayfield and Justin Harlow have spoken against it.
Braxton Winston says he hasn’t made up his mind.
“You really don't know how things are going to go until right up to voting time,” Winston says. “That's how things go.”
Tariq Bokhari stands with the mayor.
“Every council member has unanswered questions,” Bokhari says. “Even those who have come out and said we are supportive. I don't think it's a forgone conclusion either way, but I feel confident that what we've seen so far leads me to believe that this is a good deal.”
It’s unclear if there will be a majority vote to approve the convention. The GOP will make its official selection in Austin next week.
Council called a special meeting for Monday, ahead of that selection. It’s not confirmed whether they will put this to a vote that day, but there will be an opportunity for public comment.
At the end of the meeting Wednesday, Mayor Lyles left the building and got into a car. When reporters began asking her comments, her car sped away.
Later, Lyles sent WBTV a statement via text, saying,
“I completely understand the concerns expressed by the Democratic women. Even though I am a member of the same party, my governing decisions are made based upon a broader audience. The vote was close which tells me that they understand the need for a two party system and the impact that a major party convention can have on our city.”
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