The National Association of Realtors’ annual midyear conference now has a new name that puts the trade group’s political advocacy efforts front and center.

The NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is now the Realtor Party Convention & Trade Expo and sports a new Twitter handle (@RPCTE). This year the event takes place May 12-17 in Washington, D.C. Registration opened today. It is free for NAR members.

After decades of referring to the event as the Midyear Meetings, the 1 million-member trade group said it decided to change the name “to better reflect the true scope and nature” of the event.

“The Realtor Party Convention & Trade Expo goes beyond just meetings and legislative activities. It’s an important gathering of NAR members and association leaders that crosses party lines to get at the heart of real estate market issues,” NAR said in a notice about the name change.

NAR applies the term “Realtor Party” to its local, state and national political advocacy efforts, which the trade group characterizes as “an energized movement of real estate professionals working to protect and promote the dream of homeownership and property investment.”

The trade group says its members consistently rate political advocacy as the most important benefit they receive from NAR. Three years ago, NAR’s board of directors approved a controversial $40 annual dues hike for members, raising dues 50 percent from $80 to $120, in order to maintain the trade group’s clout with lawmakers.

NAR maintains that, over the years, Realtor PAC, the group’s political action committee, hasn’t favored Democrats or Republicans, but rather backs candidates who support the “Realtor Party” — which in practice means incumbent Democrats and Republicans with a track record of standing behind government subsidies for homeownership and other real estate-friendly policies.

Despite the rebranding, the event’s format will remain the same and consist of legislative activities (including meetings with elected officials), association meetings, and a trade expo. NAR expects more than 8,000 members and staff to attend.

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