The Republican Party will host its 2028 convention in Houston, party officials decided in a private meeting on Friday.
The Republican National Committee’s selection of a 2028 convention site, confirmed exclusively to POLITICO, comes a full year before the GOP holds its 2024 nominating event.
It’s an unprecedented early decision that Republicans said helped them lock facilities down sooner in an increasingly competitive hospitality and convention industry.
“After a smart business decision made by the RNC last spring to allow us to select the next convention city earlier than ever, we are looking forward to seeing Houston in the spotlight come 2028,” Ronna McDaniel, chair of the RNC, said in a statement to POLITICO. “The entire RNC membership is eager to work with Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Houston Host Committee, and Houston First Corporation to follow in Milwaukee’s footsteps by delivering an incredible convention for our Party.”
The RNC’s 168 members voted on the next convention city while gathered in Milwaukee on Friday, where the group was holding its summer meeting following Wednesday’s first RNC-sponsored primary debate.
The committee has not yet announced dates for the 2028 convention, which is expected to take place in July or August of that year.
Houston beat out four other Sun Belt cities that were being considered: Dallas, Nashville, Miami and Jacksonville. Nashville had been a finalist and was a favored location for the RNC’s 2024 convention, though planning efforts were ultimately scrapped after opposition from the city’s heavily Democratic council.
Outgoing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat who is term-limited and cannot seek reelection, said the city is “proud” to be chosen as the site of the RNC’s 2028 gathering. He described Houston as “the nation’s most diverse and inclusive city,” one that “represents the future of the United States and our aspirations as a country.”
“This keeps us on the global stage, allowing us to showcase our amazing venues and the people who keep our hotels, restaurants, and local businesses operating,” Turner said in a statement.
While Texas remains a red state, shifting demographics and narrowing GOP margins in recent years have given Democrats a degree of hope in the state.
Houston’s RNC convention bid committee has been chaired by business leader Ira Mitzner over the past year. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement thanked the RNC for choosing Houston, which he said offers “a strong business environment, record-breaking job growth, and a hub of entertainment and tourism.”
RNC members in April 2022 approved a rule change to allow the committee to begin selecting convention cities as far as six years out, after beginning the process of planning its 2024 gathering and realizing some cities’ hotels and convention centers were already booked up nearly three years in advance. Anne Hathaway, chair of the RNC’s convention site selection committee and the national committee member from Indiana, told POLITICO at the time that since major sporting events are being reserved years in advance, as well as large conventions like the National Rifle Association’s annual conference, the GOP needed to begin its city-scouting process earlier to have more options.
Democrats have not made a similar change to their convention planning timeline.
The RNC’s 2024 convention in Milwaukee will be held July 15 to 18.