Jacksonville, Florida, is the frontrunner to host the GOP convention this year after Republican officials scrapped plans to hold the full affair in North Carolina.
GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel appeared on conservative broadcaster Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Wednesday and said that Florida’s chances to host the quadrennial event looked promising. She and other officials have stipulated though that no final decision has been made.
“There’s a couple more things we need to do before we can announce that, but Jacksonville is absolutely in the front-running position,” McDaniel told Hewitt, according to the Miami Herald.
Several other sites are still under consideration, however. Republican National Committee (RNC) spokesman Steve Guest told The Daily Caller that along with Jacksonville, officials have also toured potential sites in Phoenix, Savannah, Georgia, and Dallas.
“We have been in conversations with several other potential locations,” Guest said.
The RNC has been making last-minute plans to move the bulk of the convention activities to a new location in the United States after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said that the convention, originally expected to take place in Charlotte, must follow coronavirus guidelines and cut the amount of people allowed to attend. President Trump announced on June 2 that the convention would move to a new city.
“Had long planned to have the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, a place I love,” Trump began in a pair of tweets. “Now, [NC Gov.] Roy Cooper and his representatives refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena — [s]pend millions of dollars, have everybody arrive, and then tell them they will not be able to gain entry.”
“Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised,” Trump said. “Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State. Because of [Cooper], we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.”
McDaniel also criticized Cooper’s decision in her Wednesday interview, saying that his decision was political and would not have happened to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
“We were ready to go and fill their hotels and fill their restaurants, and he made a decision politically to not help us. I know that if I were the DNC it would have been a different decision,” McDaniel said. “So shame on him because he put politics over the people of his state.”
Cooper sent a letter to McDaniel on June 2 saying that allowing the RNC to have a full convention in Charlotte would put the rest of the state at risk of the coronavirus.
“With the Nation, the State of North Carolina, and the city of Charlotte still under states of emergency, it’s important to conduct the RNC convention accordingly,” Cooper wrote. “As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the Convention you describe in late August, it is very unlikely. Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek.”
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