Republican National Convention headed to Jacksonville

GOP convention
Jax wanted it. They got it.

The city of Jacksonville pushed hard to scoop all or part of the Republican National Convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, and Thursday the GOP confirmed that the President would be renominated there.

“We are thrilled to hold Donald Trump‘s acceptance of the Republican nomination in the great city of Jacksonville! Not only is Florida his home state, it is crucial to victory. We look forward to bringing this great celebration and economic boon to the Sunshine State,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel  tweeted Thursday night.

The move represents the culmination of weeks of effort, including a high-powered host committee featuring U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, a rising star in the Republican Party.

The staging comes at a momentous time for the city, with Mayor Lenny Curry moving to strike down Confederate iconography and march with Black Lives Matter, two events unlikely before the killing of George Floyd and protests that proved unstoppable by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Though Jacksonville made an aggressive play, other cities were in the mix, with Savannah, Dallas, Nashville, and other cities considered.

In the days before the decision, the Mayor went mum, even as the local party chair gave more quotes than some in his inner circle wanted.

However, as was the case with the Jacksonville Jaguars coming to town almost three decades ago, the play was aspirational, contingent on a regional approach to amenities like hotels.

While Jacksonville could enlist cruise ships for hotel space during its lone Super Bowl, those vessels are likely not an option in the era of coronavirus and what potentially could be a second wave.

Jacksonville had to be willing to roll the dice in a way Charlotte and North Carolina’s Democratic Governor would not.

The President put the Tarheel State and Gov. Roy Cooper on notice before the search for a new location.

However, even Florida can’t guarantee a full occupancy arena.

“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,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said previously.

Thursday saw the biggest number of new cases during the COVID-19 pandemic’s reach into Florida, raising further questions about whether the curve will flatten or if a second wave may lurk to challenge finite health care resources.

However, the virus was not on the mind of jubilant Republicans.

“I’m biased, but this is a great choice! The state of Florida and the city of Jacksonville are ready and excited to host President Trump for the fun part of the Republican Convention. It’s the first step towards a big win in November,” exulted Sen. Rick Scott.

““The Republican Party of Florida is delighted that Jacksonville will host the Republican National Convention,” raved party chair Joe Gruters.

“Today’s announcement is exciting news for the City of Jacksonville” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “I enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to highlight everything our city has to offer, along with the tremendous economic impact. We look forward to hosting the 2020 Republican National Convention for all delegates and guests to enjoy.”

“The herculean task of securing the 2020 Convention was led by two senior members of my administration, Jordan Elsbury and Brian Hughes. Together on my behalf, they worked with Visit Jacksonville’s Michael Corrigan to secure over 10,000 hotel rooms, coordinated with private entities and the City’s facility Manager, ASM Global, to secure host venues. All of these combined are anticipated to bring an economic impact of more than $100 million to our City. We will continue to collaborate with local, state, and federal law enforcement to insure we host a safe and secure event,” Mayor Lenny Curry said.

Some expressed disappointment, including the chair of the Orange County Republican Party, who said “the Democrats thwarted our efforts.”

Florida Democrats predictably panned the event.

“Donald Trump abandoned North Carolina because he wants it to look like the threat of the coronavirus is over when he gives his big televised speech. Unfortunately, optics are not a public health strategy, nor are they a good re-election strategy. No speech this president makes can successfully gloss over his failed coronavirus response to Americans who have watched this president dither for months as more than 44 million have filed for unemployment benefits and 113,000 have lost their lives. Trump is coming to Florida to throw himself a big party — but it’s looking more and more like a goodbye party to his chance at a second term in the White House,” chided Terrie Rizzo, the chair of the state party.

With protests likely, especially given the larger context of the national debate, senior staffers with the Donald Trump campaign hope they can make the President’s case despite considerable local resistance.

“President Trump has been a champion for the Black community, and we applaud the achievements his administration has made in the areas of economic development, education, and criminal justice reform. While we cannot erase some of the darkest moments of our nation’s past, we can denounce them, learn from them, fight for justice and a more perfect union for every American. That is exactly what President Trump has done. We are excited to showcase the best of Jacksonville and provide a multi-million-dollar boost to their local diverse economy as we nominate Donald J. Trump for the next four years,” said Paris Dennard, RNC Senior Communications Advisor for Black Media Affairs.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Gwen

    June 11, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    So how do you like Democrat Socialism? just like the third world isn’t it. Democrat Governor’s & Mayors philosophy? Police ordered to stand down while the city was looted, burned to the ground, citizens beaten trying to protect their businesses. .

    What does BLM want? to control and prioritize your tax. To reduce / eliminate the police…thus Anarchy. Los Angeles has already complied and expect cities and states with liberal leadership to follow suit….

    There is no moderate wing of the Democrat party people and they don’t care about taxpayers (especially if you’re white) If you vote for Joe Biden, you are voting for Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren’s far left platform and against your own bestr interests.. Joe will follow the radical left’s agenda or Joe won’t get the support (and he is)…of Val Demings, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Valerie Jarrett,. Rashida Talib, Stacy Abrams, Ayanna Pressley, Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Tom Perez, Maxine Waters, Al Green, and llhan Omar.

    This is the core of the socialists leftist wing of the Democrat party in Washington and they are firmly in charge.

    Democrat Platform & Goals:
    (Democrat Taxpayers pay close attention, you’ll pay too)

    *End all deportations of illegal aliens, if you get here, you stay. Bernie’s website calls it a “moratorium” on deportations.

    *Citizenship for 20 to 50 million illegal aliens, DACA & TPS recipients with a cost of billions.

    *Massive tax increases. All Democrat candidates have committed to tax increases of various amounts.

    *De-fund & terminate border patrol & ICE.

    *Free Health Care for Illegal aliens, DACA, TPS recipients (taxpayer funded with one estimate at 52 trillion)

    *Ending of all private / employer based health care. “Medicare for all”, Feds run everything.

    *Illegal Aliens eligible for welfare & food stamps. (Elizabeth Warrens plan adopted)

    *Reparations for race’s harmed by Caucasians. Joe Biden committed to “Reverend” Al Sharpton’s support for Sheila Jackson Lee’s racist reparations bill in the House. Basically a tax will be levied on all Caucasians in America. (you can’t make this stuff up)

    * Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Green new deal.(which would create massive unemployment, 100,000 jobs estimated in the transportation industry alone.)

    *Sanctuary Cities & States. Joe Biden supports sanctuary city’s.

    * Border Security. (Democrats have fought against Border Security for 3 years).

    *Free college for all, including illegal aliens (taxpayer funded estimates in the billions. Bernie Sanders plan adopted.

    *Decriminalization of illegal entry into our country.

    *Open Borders.

    *Drivers licenses for illegal aliens.(already happening in states with Democrat leadership)

    Democrats want to make this election all about President Trump. NOT their pathetic platform & Goals.

  • Frankie M.

    June 11, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Is Jax big or bold enough to host this thang? I don’t know about either of those criteria but I know we’re certainly stupid enough to hold it here. I’m predicting there will be a run on axe handles at Ace next week. #synergy

    • DisplacedCTYankee

      June 12, 2020 at 8:40 am

      Go for it! Put DeSantis, Rubio, Scott, and all Florida Republicans right in the howling mob, everybody packed in and not a mask in sight! Then welcome President Shithead on the last day of the rally, I mean convention, when the virus has had several days to spread among the multitudes. Get Pence there, too, of course.

      Finally, send them all home to the fifty states and the territories, to mingle with their GOP BFFs. A mini-pandemic.

  • Sonja Fitch

    June 12, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Wow. The ultimate cult delusional decision ! How many will get sick
    And die? Cult don’t care. We got some money!!! And that there racist fascist white supremacy trumop. Yep we white boys are gonna enjoy this here party! Not even a cat 1 hurricane will stop us!!

Comments are closed.


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