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Milwaukee’s ready to “roll out the red carpet” for Republican presidential debate

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MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Theatre will be hosting the Republican presidential debate on November 10th. Some see the contest as a chance to showcase Milwaukee on a national and international stage.

Mordecai Lee

Mordecai Lee

"There's absolutely no guarantee who's going to win and there are some surprising developments, so we want to watch," said Mordecai Lee, UW-Milwaukee Professor of Urban Planning.

Pretty soon, the Republican presidential candidates will be taking their show on the road -- and bringing it to the Milwaukee Theatre.

"Are Americans still as excited and interested as they were for the first two debates? I suspect the answer is yes," said Lee.

More than 20 million people tuned into the main debate on CNN in September. Some are seeing the possibilities that kind of interest could provide for Milwaukee when it plays host in November.

Milwaukee Theatre

Milwaukee Theatre

"It allows us to showcase our city to a worldwide audience, essentially," said Kristin Settle, Communications Director for Visit Milwaukee.

Settle says she expects Milwaukee will "roll out the red carpet" for the event. They are also anticipating the debate will translate into more than 3,000 hotel stays.

Kristin Settle

Kristin Settle

"We also anticipate a huge economic impact in terms of restaurant visits and shopping visits and just money spent in the city of between $5 million and $10 million," said Settle.

Settle said hosting an event of such prominence could also help elevate Milwaukee's standing as a potential site for other events.

"Certainly makes Milwaukee more competitive in terms of attracting conventions and other business travel here," said Settle.

Wisconsin will be playing host to both political parties' primary contenders. The Democratic candidates will be coming to the Badger State on February 11th. That site has yet to be announced.

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