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The Governor's travels cost the state $2.1 million last fiscal year, according to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Image via AP.

2020/2022

Ron DeSantis supports GOP convention move to Florida

The Governor would welcome the Democratic convention also.

The Republican National Convention may or may not be up for a move, but the Governor is vying for it nonetheless.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he would welcome the Republican National Convention, if it actually is moved from Charlotte to Florida.

He then extended the same courtesy to the Democratic National Convention.

“Florida would love to have the RNC. Heck, I’m a Republican, it would be good for us to have the DNC,” DeSantis said, citing the “major economic impact of events like that.”

“My posture on all of this is we should try to get it done the best we can,” the Governor added. A convention would “mean a huge economic impact” for the state, which lost Wrestlemania, golf and tennis tournaments, and other big-ticket events.

“Florida wants to work with you to get to yes,” DeSantis said.

“The door is open, we want to have the conversation,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis, addressing Miami reporters Tuesday, noted that he had not talked to the White House or Trump about specifics, but he already “let the folks at the White House know that we want to work with him.” The President shot down the idea of moving the convention on Monday, hours after he floated it.

“We have a number of areas in the state that could do it,” DeSantis said, citing Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville.

The Governor said a convention would be “kind of a plug and play thing,” adding that he would not play favorites with one city over the other.

DeSantis’ advocacy for a Florida convention comes after other prominent Republicans made their pitches, even as the President proved unenthusiastic.

“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.

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.

Competing for Trump’s attention, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday sent out his own pitch for the event.

“With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention,” Kemp tweeted. “We hope you will consider the Peach State, @realdonaldtrump!”

The Democratic National Convention remains scheduled for the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisc., a state that Trump narrowly won in 2016. The Florida Democratic Party declined to comment about DeSantis’ statement about welcoming the conventions.

The Democratic convention date has been moved from mid-July to August due to the pandemic.

DeSantis has invited professional sports teams to restart training and to schedule games in Florida, even if fans would not initially be in attendance because of the virus, which as of Tuesday morning had killed 2,259 Floridians.

Trump opened Memorial Day expressing frustration with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat who the president contends is “unable to guarantee” coronavirus physical-distancing requirements will be lifted before the Republican convention, scheduled for Aug. 24 to Aug. 27.

“In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space,” Trump tweeted.

Cooper replied by tweeting a comment from his spokesman. North Carolina, like Florida and Wisconsin, is a battleground state in this year’s presidential election.

“State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte,” Cooper’s tweet quoted. “North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.”

Trump ruled out using one of his properties in South Florida for a relocated convention.

“I have zero interest in moving the Republican National Convention to Doral in Miami, as falsely reported by the Fake News @nytimes in order to stir up trouble,” Trump tweeted. “Ballroom is not nearly big enough & would like to stay in N.C., whose gov. doesn’t even know if he can let people in?”

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The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

Written By

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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