ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Now that the Republican National Convention has been pulled from North Carolina, some are wondering if the Sunshine State could serve as host with even the governor saying that Orlando would be a great spot to host such an event.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said he heard the governor’s remark on Wednesday but so far, he hasn’t been approached about hosting the RNC in the Orlando area.
“We have not been contacted at all by anyone officially from the RNC about moving the convention here so anything that you hear is just mere speculation at this point,” Demings said.
Still, the mayor didn’t rule out the idea as long as certain requirements are met. If Orange County were to be chosen as the venue, he’d need to know that all the costs would be covered.
“I believe that a convention will likely have a lot of demonstrations and protests there. So any community that endeavors to host it, they gotta take the good with the bad, and there would be significant cost there, and I would not ask my commissioners to support bringing it here if we didn’t think that we could be reimbursed 100% of the cost of hosting and that’s a big unknown,” Demings said.
The RNC was scheduled to take place in North Carolina in late August until President Donald Trump announced that he would need to find a new location since the governor couldn’t promise a full convention arena with no facial coverings and no social distancing, according to the Associated Press.
Demings didn’t address health and safety concerns about hosting an event of that size but he did express worry about the county potentially losing money when it’s already seeing a negative impact from the coronavirus crisis.
“There are many communities that have hosted these political conventions and at the end of it, were never may whole and when we have an economic crisis, we have our financial challenges, to make that kind of commitment that means a financial commitment, and I’m not ready to do that at this point until I have all the details,” Demings said.
Also on Wednesday, the Orange County Convention Center presented its three-pronged reopening plan. It’s unknown at this point when the venue will be allowed to host events once again.