The Washington Post is reporting that the Republican National Convention, originally scheduled to be held in Charlotte, NC will be moved to the coastal Florida city of Jacksonville. Problems with the Democratic governor and mayor allowing a full-blown convention forced the party to move the venue to a more GOP-friendly area.
— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWKRN) June 10, 2020
Due to contractual obligations to the city of Charlotte, it’s likely that some low profile events will still be held there. But the people and their money along with the cameras will probably be in Jacksonville.
But the move is not set in stone as there have been warnings from some city officials that there won’t be enough hotel rooms.
RNC aides are reportedly scrambling to figure out how to handle hotel capacity. Officials were in Jacksonville Monday for that purpose and to look at the city and its surrounding areas.
News4Jax checked local hotels and there are no reservations available at the Omni and Hyatt Regency in downtown Jacksonville during the week of the RNC in August. Prices are more than double at some hotels on the South Bank between August 24th and 27th.
It will be tight but the RNC will find that people are willing to drive a long way from an out of town motel to participate in the convention. Enough rooms will be found and as long as they’re within 100 miles, the party is on.
Meanwhile, some local residents in Jacksonville don’t want the convention in their city.
In an interview Tuesday with the Times-Union, Jacksonville NAACP Branch President Isaiah Rumlin warned that the RNC coming to Jacksonville would discredit the progress Curry’s administration made just that day.
“Trump doesn’t need to come to Jacksonville. We don’t need him here,” Rumlin said. “Although the statues are gone, that’s just symbolic. Racism is still going on.”
As noted by the Times-Union, the convention will fall on the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday — where more than 200 Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens Council members attacked black people participating in lunch counter sit-in demonstrations.
And 250 years ago, the Spanish were killing Native Americans down there. What’s the point? I’m sure you don’t have to try very hard to find something significant to the cause that happened on this day or tomorrow, or the day after that 50, 100 150 years ago. What’s that got to do with Republicans pouring $100 million into your city?
Of course, the warnings about spreading disease are loud and continuous.
“You’re bringing 20,000 to 50,000 additional people to your city in [from] areas where they may have been not as successful as Jacksonville has been in flattening the curve,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told First Coast News on Tuesday when asked about the convention coming to Jacksonville.
Tampa hosted the RNC in 2012. Buckhorn called the RNC coming to Jacksonville a “formula for disaster.”
“You are bringing folks with this virus, some of whom don’t even know they’re carriers of this virus, and putting them inside an indoor arena,” he added. “Heck, they don’t want people singing in church for fear the virus will spread. What do you think a convention is going to do with all the yelling and all the contact?”
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has been lobbying the RNC ever since questions arose about Charlotte being host city. Naturally, he’s ecstatic.
We welcome the opportunity to host the @GOPconvention 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. @GOP @GOPChairwoman
— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) June 2, 2020
The convention — wherever it’s held — will be from August 24-27.