ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday he has spoken with Republican Party leadership about relocating the party’s summer convention to Orlando.
What You Need To Know
- RNC rumored to be relocated from Charlotte, NC to Orlando
- Florida Gov. DeSantis is supportive of the move if relocation is decided
- Reps from city of Orlando, Orange Co. say they haven't been approached
The City Beautiful is rumored to be among several cities being considered, including Jacksonville, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Republican National Convention is scheduled to happen in August in Charlotte, North Carolina, which hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
Tensions have grown between party and North Carolina state leaders because of coronavirus.
President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, was forcing the GOP to “seek another state to host” the convention.
Cooper has stopped short of giving a “guarantee” that the party will be able to hold a “full convention” with more than 20,000 people.
“We’ve continued to say we want to talk with you about a scaled down convention, but we cannot guarantee you, at the end of August, you can have a full arena,” Cooper said Tuesday. “I hope they’ll continue to talk with us about a scaled down convention, we’re ready to discuss that, and still waiting for answers to our health questions about how they would take steps to protect people about social distancing and face masks, and we’ve not heard a response from that.”
With the president now threatening to relocate the convention, other states are now scrambling to pitch hosting the event.
DeSantis told reporters Wednesday that Orlando would be a “logical location.”
“North Carolina approached it saying ‘OK, it’s a default no and then maybe we’ll see,’ and my view would be it should be a default yes and then as we get closer you can make determinations how you do it,” DeSantis said.
The governor said he has spoken to GOP leadership and considers there may still have to ensure mitigation measures are in place, such as temperature screenings, social distancing, and wearing of masks.
Spokespersons for the city of Orlando and Orange County say they have not been approached by GOP representatives about hosting the event.
A convention in Orlando would be a bit of a homecoming for President Trump. He hosted his re-election campaign launch rally June 18, 2019 at Amway Center in Downtown Orlando.
Charles Hart, Chairman of Orange County Republicans, told Spectrum News that despite the short timing, he is confident that Orlando could pull it off.
“We are the City Beautiful, so Orlando is internationally known for its hospitality, for its hotels, for its food, for its entertainment, and for its people,” Hart said.
All attributes that are in full supply and low demand, perhaps making Orlando even more enticing to a sudden large event.
A spokesperson for the Republican National Convention told Spectrum News that the convention is going to be held in another city, but did leave open the possibility for it to remain in Charlotte.
“Due to the directive from the governor that our convention cannot go on as planned as required by our rules, the celebration of the president’s acceptance of the Republican nomination will be held in another city,” A GOP spokesperson told Spectrum News. “Should the governor allow more than 10 people in a room, we still hope to conduct the official business of the convention in Charlotte.”
The party statement also leaves some wondering if the Republican Party may consider a split convention of sorts, with some official party business in Charlotte, and the president’s nomination acceptance speech held elsewhere.
With the political and electoral weight carried in Central Florida, Hart says he believes Orlando is a more logical pick to relocate the convention.
“Not only could it be good strategy, but getting to know voters you need to win, beyond strategy it makes common sense,” Hart said.