Tampa Still Angling for RNC Convention
Tampa Republicans and the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau are continuing to lobby the Republican National Committee to host its quadrennial convention in Tampa from September 1-4, 2008.
Florida is the fourth largest state in terms of electoral votes. It is also the largest swing state. The electoral votes for the three largest states are not really in any doubt - California (Democrat), Texas (Republican), and New York (Democrat). In addition, roughly half of the swing precincts in Florida are within the range of the Tampa media market.
On Sunday, August 20, members of the RNC site selection committee visited Tampa as part of a forty-eight hour fact finding trip.
The group headed to a private home on Harbour Island for dinner with a who's who of business and political leaders. The guest list supposedly included Florida Republican gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher, Republican donors Al Austin, Dick Beard and John Sykes, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft, and Congressman Adam Putnam.
Invited to additional events Monday and Tuesday are Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite; Pinellas County Commissioner Ronnie Duncan; state Reps. Bill Galvano, Rich Glorioso, and Trey Traviesa; executives from TECO, Publix, Sweet Bay, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Tampa Bay Buccaneers; and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio (see photo).
Despite the apparent advantages of the area, there are some disadvantages - such as the fact that September 1-4 is prime hurricane season. Another can be seen in the last name on the list: Pam Iorio.
How much effort and how many resources is Iorio, a Democrat, willing to spend on bring the Republican convention to Tampa?
Other handicaps include relatively few hotel rooms downtown and poor public transportation infrastructure.