Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tampa wins bid to host 2012 GOP Convention

After losing bids in 2004 and 2008, Tampa has been awarded the 2012 Republican National Convention beating out Phoenix and Salt Lake City. We think the Committee did an excellent job as we are sure most Republicans don't want to be out in Phoenix in late August. Not sure we would want to be in Salt Lake City for a Convention. Tampa is the perfect spot close to the Gulf with a lot of activities in the area.

We do take exception with this paragraph of the article:

Absent at Wednesday's announcement was the bid committee's honorary chairman – Gov. Charlie Crist, who was across the bay in St. Petersburg changing his party affiliation from Republican to no-party affiliation. Austin said Crist would be invited to the press conference officials expect to have when Steele is in town.

We do not believe that Gov Crist should remain the honorary Chairman for the 2012 Convention or should be at the press conference welcoming RNC Chair Michael Steele since he is no longer a Republican. We would expect those plans to change when the FL GOP Chairman reads that paragraph. Why give Crist any face time when he is no longer a Republican?

Congratulations to Tampa and with this Convention, Florida will be back in the Red column in 2012!

Tampa wins bid to host 2012 GOP Convention

By CHRISTIAN M. WADE The Tampa Tribune

Published: May 12, 2010

Getting poll results. Please wait... TAMPA - Tampa will host the 2012 Republican Convention, a week-long events that is expected to attract more than 50,000 party delegates, politicians, protesters and news media to the Bay area.

Members of the Republican National Committee on Wednesday selected Tampa to be the host city, beating out the rival cities of Phoenix, Ariz. and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Backers of the city's bid, who gathered in the offices of Tampa Bay & Co., got a call from RNC chair Michael Steele at about 3:30 p.m., telling them that the party's 12-member site selection committee had unanimously decided on Tampa as a host city.

"We're excited and ready to get to work on what we believe will be one of the best people's conventions we've ever had," Steele told the host committee members.

The convention will take place the week of Aug. 27, 2012, at the St. Pete Times Forum, with other events held at Bay area venues such as the Tampa Convention Center and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Visitors would stay at hotels across the region.

The site committee's choice will be presented to the full 168-member RNC in August. The RNC can deviate from the recommendation, but that's never happened.

"This is big fish, but it takes a long time to land one," said Al Austin, co-chair of the host committee, who spearheaded two previous unsuccessful bids to land the convention.

Austin said the host committee will immediately start to raise money to pay for the event, an endeavor he admitted will be a challenge but one that he vowed to accomplish.

"I wouldn't have taken on this effort if I didn't think we could raise enough money," he said.

The bid's organizers enlisted the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg to showcase the area as the ideal spot for the convention. They prepared a detailed bid, and wined and dined the site selection committee when it came to town in March to scout locations.

"This proves that we have what it takes," Mayor Pam Iorio said at a press conference following the decision. "When we go after something as a city, we set the bar high."

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, a member of the host committee who was also involved in the city's previous bid, called it "a historic day for Tampa Bay."

He called the convention "the single largest non-sporting event we have ever hosted."

Ken Jones, a co-chair of the host committee who worked on the 2008 GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, said organizers will now get to work on agreements between the committee and RNC about fundraising, security, transportation and other issues.

"We've been through this with other events," he said. "It won't be a problem."

The committee must have those agreements in place before the RNC meets in August.

Citing a tight budget, Iorio has pledged support and resources for the event but no city funding. Any costs incurred from the use of police, fire, public works or other services would have to be paid back under a contractual agreement, Iorio said Wednesday.

"I wanted to make sure the city would not be at a financial risk," she said.

In the 2008 bid, the city estimated it would have to spend more than $12.7 million in public funds on costs such as security and insurance.

Steele said he will meet in Tampa with host committee officials within a week and local officials said as many as 150 people from the Republican National Committee will set up shop here within the coming weeks.

The city lost its 2004 bid to New York, largely because it was the sentimental favorite to host the first convention after the Sept. 11 attacks, and Republicans wanted to invade traditional Democratic territory. In 2008, the city lost its bid to host the GOP Convention to Minneapolis-St. Paul, a Democratic stronghold with a Republican governor.

"The last two times politics played a role, and we were on the losing end of the decision," said Tampa businessman Dick Beard, a co-chair of host committee and former finance chair for the Republican Party of Florida. "But this time, it was clearly ours to lose."

Bid committee officials touted hopes of a positive economic impact for the local economy, which had an unemployment rate around 13 percent as of April.

"This is going to be a big shot in the arm for our economy," Hagan said.

Austin said the convention would need thousands of volunteers and would create "a tremendous amount of jobs."

No one has conducted a study on the economic impact of bringing a convention here, but host committee members have projected a payoff of more than $170 million; a figure based mostly on estimates from other cities that have hosted political conventions.

Absent at Wednesday's announcement was the bid committee's honorary chairman – Gov. Charlie Crist, who was across the bay in St. Petersburg changing his party affiliation from Republican to no-party affiliation. Austin said Crist would be invited to the press conference officials expect to have when Steele is in town.

Tampa has never hosted a presidential convention. The last time the event was held in Florida was 1972, when both the Republican and Democratic conventions were hosted by Miami. Then-President Richard M. Nixon and George McGovern were nominated.

Source: TampaBay online

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