‘Frontrunner’: GOP Convention buzz builds for Jacksonville
Confetti and balloons fall during 2016 celebrations on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. That won't happen in Jacksonville this year. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

RNC Convention
Is Jacksonville ready?

The chair of the Republican Party of Florida says Jacksonville is the frontrunner to steal the GOP Convention from Charlotte.

“While no final decision has been made by the RNC we understand Jacksonville is a front runner. This certainly has been generating a lot of attention and excitement. We continue to believe that Florida would be the best place for the Convention,” said Chairman Joe Gruters.

The buzz is building.

President Donald Trump will be renominated in Jacksonville, Florida if the latest reporting from the Washington Post holds up.

“Seeking a city willing to allow a large-scale event amid the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans have tentatively settled on Jacksonville, Fla., as the new destination for the premier festivities of the Republican National Convention in August, according to three Republican officials briefed on the plans,” the Post reported late Tuesday night.Hotel capacity is an open question, but GOP officials were in town Monday, and downtown hotels are booked for the late-August dates.

Republicans look likely to have “more routine and lower-profile meetings” in Charlotte, which is an attempt to ward off breach of contract lawsuits, per the Post.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, despite media inquiries Tuesday as he marched in a Black Lives Matter demonstration with Jacksonville Jaguars footballers, did not address convention planning.

“I don’t know what the RNC is going to do,” he told one reporter.

But for Curry and Gov. Ron DeSantis, a convention in the Bold City would be welcomed.

“We welcome the opportunity to host the GOP convention in Jacksonville. A $100 million local impact event would be important for our city as an event/convention destination.The City is ready for world class events & ready show the world we are open for business,” Curry tweeted earlier this month.

“The shape of the epidemic is just simply going to be different, and hopefully it’s a lot better, but I think we’ll be able to make those decisions about what precautions need to be taken as you get closer,” DeSantis said. “But to just rule out a convention at this stage, I think, is a mistake so we’ve said we want to get to ‘yes’ on it and I think we’ll be able to do it.

The decision could be imminent. If it happens, Jacksonville is on the clock, a day after the city passed (again) LGBT rights legislation and tore down a Confederate monument.

The opportunity comes after the President balked at a limited capacity event.

The President put the Tarheel State and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on notice on Tuesday, shaming him for calling his own “audible.”

“Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised. Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State. Because of [Gov. Cooper], we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention,” Trump tweeted last month.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Ocean Joe

    June 10, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Jacksonville has a good port for docking the Titanic.

  • Frankie M.

    June 10, 2020 at 9:23 am

    What a blessing for the community! Not enough hotel rooms downtown? Pish posh. Bring on the cruise ships. What could possibly go wrong?

    Arena not big enough? You got the fairgrounds & a football stadium/amphitheatre with swimming pools & the world’s biggest scoreboards across the street. I’m sure Shad & the Jaguar players won’t mind. If that area gets trashed just blame the Bills fans.

    Finally book a great southern band. Drive by truckers would be an excellent choice. This event would be an economic boon for our community. Just look at what the Super Bowl did to bring in more businesses and jobs. It really elevated our profile…so much so that now we’re playing two games a year in London. Thx covid.

  • DisplacedCTYankee

    June 10, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Jacksonville is in Georgia, right? If not, let Georgia have it.

    • Yankees Suck!

      June 10, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      Hey, DisplacedCTYankee…. Do us Floridians a huge favor…. Get “you” and anyone else that puts up with you, into your gooney hybrid or Subaru, and head back up north! Bye Bye Now!

  • Frankie M.

    June 10, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Lenny the politician didn’t want to talk politics yesterday? Interesting. In 2017 he cited “Charlottesville” as the reason for not taking down the Confederate monuments. Specifically he didn’t want those groups coming here and stirring up trouble. I’m sure the reason he will invoke for taking down the statue overnight by royal decree will no doubt be “Charlotesville” again. He didn’t want them coming here. Guess who will be coming here with the RNC convention though. Chartlottesville times 1000. Good job Lenny. That’s like saying Leonard Fournette was the best and worst pick the Jaguars made in 2017. It makes zero sense but we should be used to that by now.

    We couldn’t hold a Super Bowl in Jax in 2005 without turning off the water in the stadium to avoid it overflowing with shite. We needed cruise ships because we didn’t and still don’t have enough housing available downtown some 15 years later. We were promised a huge economic boon by hosting the SB but we got nada. We can’t even blame the recession for that. We still haven’t opened up the books on how much that SB cost the city and how much it made despite extensive digging from intrepid reporters. What does that tell you? How much you wanna bet they’ll open the books after the RNC convention here? Yeah I didn’t think so either. Lenny the shady politician meet Lenny the shady accountant. It’s easier here.

    I can’t get reimbursed for a baseball game that was supposed to played here 3 months ago because the box office where I purchased the tickets from is still closed. But we can handle the RNC convention because we are literally the only city whose top brass have publicly lobbied for it?? Pick Jax RNC…it’s easier here plus we’re the only ones stupid enough to volunteer for it. smh

  • Sonja Fitch

    June 11, 2020 at 6:04 am

    Old white southern woman I am,this kumbaya moments are to good to be true! We have 32 named hate groups within neflorifa and segeorgia! JEA is headed for criminal charges(looting Lenny is trying to distract from). Sheriff Williams failure as a leader is pathetic. Nelson!!!??? Time will tell!

Comments are closed.


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