The GOP is considering where to hold its next Republican National Convention (RNC) – and the best choice would be Tampa.
The event, which will take place during the last week of August 2012, is expected to bring 50,000 conventioneers and $170 million to Tampa at a time when Florida tourism is usually slowest, according to The News-Press.
Tampa is in the running against Phoenix and Salt Lake City, the capital of a reliably red state and a place where candidate hopeful Mitt Romney will likely aim to impress. A decision from the GOP is expected as early as May.
Tampa is clearly the best candidate and should be the site of the next RNC.
The caucus would rally at the St. Pete Times Forum, and the Tampa Convention Center would serve as a media hub for 15,000 incoming journalists, providing the bay area with media exposure during one of the nation’s largest political events.
Gov. Charlie Crist said to reporters, “Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent, this is important for jobs and job creation.”
On March 29, Tampa residents and the host committee greeted an RNC site selection committee and RNC Chairman Michael Steele with American flags, free food and circus performers during their two-day tour of the bay area.
According to 10 Connects News and ABC Action News, local officials escorted the committee as they scouted the Convention Center, viewed an RNC-themed dragon boat race near the St. Pete Times Forum, strolled on the beach at the Don Cesar, dined at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, visited Channelside, rode into center field at Tropicana Field, brunched at the Renaissance Vinoy and enjoyed a fireworks show at the new Tampa Museum of Art.
Maddux News Wire said the site selection committee would choose the host based on restaurants, nightlife, accommodations, transportation options, museums, cultural centers, event facilities, attractions and leisure activities.
Tampa failed to land the RNC in 2004 and 2008 because of hurricane concerns and a shortage of quality accommodations. Since 2008, a new art museum, history museum and riverfront park have been added, as well as 2,000 hotel rooms within 35 minutes of downtown, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
Local taxpayers will not spend a dime on the convention, other than gas money wasted idling in potential traffic jams. The Federal Election Committee will give $18 million to the RNC, the host committee will raise $40 million from private donors and Congress will provide $50 million for security, according to the Times.
Florida will be an important state in the 2012 elections and Republicans should seize the opportunity to increase their influence here by selecting Tampa.
City developer and host committee chairman Al Austin believes the third time is the charm for Tampa.
He said to the Tampa Tribune, “This is a battleground state. You don’t win the election without winning Florida, and you don’t win Florida without winning Tampa Bay and the I-4 corridor.”
Money speaks volumes, and the economic impact of such a large-scale event would benefit Tampa and the Republican Party.
Lydia Harvey is a junior majoring in mass communications.