Politics & Policy

RNC Settles on Jacksonville for New Convention Site: Report

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., February 28, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The Republican National Committee is zeroing in on a new location for its August convention and has tentatively decided to host the marquee events in Jacksonville, Fla., sources told the Washington Post.

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Tuesday that a decision will probably come “within the next week” on where to host the convention, which is scheduled for August 24 to August 27.

“Everybody is coming to the table,” McDaniel said in an appearance on Fox News. “We have all types of states – Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee – that have come and said we want to host your convention. We’ve been traveling. We will have to make a decision probably within the next week as to where we’re going to have this celebration.”

In a statement, RNC spokesman Steve Guest told National Review that “several cities are still being considered.”

“No final decision has been made,” Guest said in an email. “Convention officials are touring Phoenix, Savannah, Dallas, and Jacksonville this week, and we have been in conversations with several other potential locations.”

The RNC backed out of its original location of Charlotte, N.C., last week, after Governor Roy Cooper would not commit to allowing the convention to be held at full capacity due to concerns about coronavirus.

“Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised,” President Trump tweeted. “Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State.”

Cooper, a Democrat, responded by saying it was “unfortunate they never agreed to scale down and make changes to keep people safe. Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority.”

The Post cited two officials who said Charlotte would still host the convention’s more routine and lower-profile meetings in order to honor the contract, with the larger events — including a speech by President Trump — to be held in Jacksonville.

“Mayor Curry has been actively and energetically pursuing this convention, and the Republican Party of Duval County has been actively promoting Jacksonville as the single best city in America to host a convention,” Dean Black, the Duval County Republican chairman, told the Post.

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