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“Pretty sure it will be packed!” Excitement builds over economic impact of GOP Milwaukee debate

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MILWAUKEE -- As excitement for the 2016 presidential election builds, Milwaukee is getting in on the action by hosting the fourth GOP presidential debate.

"The Milwaukee Theatre has 4,100 seats in it and I'm pretty sure it will be packed -- so it's a great opportunity for us to showcase Milwaukee on a national stage," said Kristin Settle, VISIT Milwaukee director of communications.

Along with the news crews, candidates, and spectators comes a lot of money -- especially since Milwaukee will also host a Democratic presidential debate in February.

"We anticipate an economic impact from each debate between $5 and $10 million. That is based on other similar sized cities who have also hosted presidential debates," said Settle.

VISIT Milwaukee estimates up to 3,500 hotel rooms are booked for the debate. The Pfister Hotel has been preparing for weeks.

"We've had to upgrade all of our internet services within the hotel. We fully expect to have 200-300 people using Wi-Fi at the same time. I think that's been the biggest challenge for us," said Tim Smith, Pfister Hotel general manager.

Visitors will also spend money at Milwaukee restaurants. Major Goolsby's, located right next door to the Milwaukee Theatre, plans for an influx of people on Tuesday as it's airing the debate.

"We're hoping to get a really good crowd for people who want to be close to it, but can`t get inside," said Chris Peppas, Major Goolsby's public relations manager.

GOP Milwaukee debate

GOP Milwaukee debate

GOP Milwaukee debate undercard candidates

GOP Milwaukee debate undercard candidates

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