JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Republicans have tentatively settled on Jacksonville as the new destination for the Republican National Convention in August, according to The Washington Post, citing three party officials.
The report said RNC aides are scrambling to determine whether Jacksonville has enough hotel rooms to accommodate the event, which typically kicks off the final stretch of the presidential campaign.
It would take significant work to make the convention happen. Estimates show the event could draw 50,000 visitors. The head of Visit Jacksonville believes the city could handle the crowds with 80,000 its hotel rooms.
The Post also reported Republican officials were in Jacksonville on Monday looking at the city and the surrounding areas.
Georgia and Florida's governors have been courting GOP and White House officials since it became clear that North Carolina and the party were not seeing eye to eye on the convention and coronavirus precautions in the city of Charlotte.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said previously the recent success of the UFC event at Vystar Veterans Arena shows the city can have a large event and keep people safe from the novel and deadly coronavirus.
According to the report in The Post, aides to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Mayor Curry has been actively and energetically pursuing this convention, and the Republican Party of Duval County has been actively promoting Jacksonville as the single best city in America to host a convention,” said Dean Black, the Duval County Republican chairman.
For some, like a group of Jacksonville pastors, the fact that moving the RNC to Jacksonville has been discussed and not made public is bothersome to them.
“To have conversations with the powers that be and not have a conversation with the people that be, that is not right,” said Dr. Gary Williams, Pastor at Hopewell Baptist Church.
And it’s the possibility of protests that have some concerned.
Republican officials have also been considering several other locations for the convention, including Orlando, Nashville, Dallas, and Savannah, Ga.