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Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry talks the rise, and fall, of the Jacksonville RNC

2020/2022

Lenny Curry makes case for moving Republican National Convention to Jacksonville

Trump has no interest in moving the event, but don’t tell Florida Republicans that.

Pandemic panic in the Tarheel State offered one Florida mayor a chance to lobby for the Republican National Convention to be relocated Tuesday.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, the former head of the Republican Party of Florida, said his city could host the event if North Carolina’s governor doesn’t want it in Charlotte.

Jacksonville, tweeted Curry, “has strongly demonstrated the ability to host large events in a safe & responsible way. The world’s 1st pro live sporting event since COVID-19 was broadcast around the globe from the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.”

We would be honored to host the Republican National Convention in that same world class facility. Thankfully, Gov. Ron DeSantis and my administration have created a regulatory framework that operates in way that is attractive to significant events like these,” Curry added.

While the regulatory framework might be “attractive to significant events,” the Mayor’s pleas (effectively restating a similar argument made in POLITICO Florida’s “Playbook” tout sheet Tuesday morning) come almost a day after President Donald Trump said he had “zero interest” in relocating the event from Charlotte.

Before the President shot down a last-minute move, Florida Republicans lobbied for it.

“The Republican Party of Florida would welcome the opportunity to host the Republican National Convention. Florida is committed to ensuring a safe, secure and successful event for President Trump and all attendees,” asserted RPOF Chairman Joe Gruters Monday.

Gruters’ comments came hours after the President issued what amounted to a jumpball for the summer event’s location.

“I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. 

“Unfortunately, Democrat Governor Roy Cooper is still in Shutdown mode & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed … to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site.”.

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A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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