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RNC in Tampa Bay? Rick Kriseman calls it a ‘non-issue’

Kriseman said the region would need months to prepare.

Following a whirlwind of speculation about where the Republican National Convention would take place this August, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is signaling it won’t be in his city.

“It’s really kind of amazing that that idea has even been floated out there,” Kriseman said. “Putting on an event of this size and scale takes months and months of preparation so I don’t see how, realistically, that could even happen.”

The question was prompted after President Donald Trump on Monday threatened to yank the RNC from Charlotte citing North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper’s ongoing coronavirus shutdown.

“Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, Roy Cooper, is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the Arena.” Trump tweeted. “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.”

That prompted the Republican Party of Florida to weigh in arguing if not North Carolina, Florida should host the convention, which serves as the official coronation of the party’s presidential nominee, assuredly, Trump.

“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,” RPOF Chairman Joe Gruters said Monday.

By Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis was joining in the pro-Florida RNC chorus.

“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.”

He offered up Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville as possible hosts.

Kriseman called the potential a “non-issue” in Tampa Bay, arguing it should go on as planned in Charlotte because the city has been planning “for months and months” to put on a safe convention.

The Tampa Bay are is no stranger to conventions. Tampa hosted the 2012 RNC where Sen. Mitt Romney was named the party’s nominee. The event prompted millions in local and federal spending not just in Tampa, but in neighboring St. Pete where the official media kick-off party was held at Tropicana Field.

Kriseman is likely correct about a convention move being a non-starter. Trump on Tuesday cleared up his earlier comments saying he had “zero interest” in moving the convention to Doral where Trump owns a resort, his unofficial home outside of Washington D.C.


Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at

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