Jacksonville courts GOP convention, but some say it should stay away

Trump looks elsewhere after convention spat with North Carolina governor

RALEIGH, N.C. – As President Donald Trump seeks a new state to host the summer’ Republican National Convention, Mayor Lenny Curry continues to court Republican officials who are considering Jacksonville as an alternative site.

But not everyone is thrilled about the idea of bringing the convention to the River City.

Trump announced Tuesday night that the convention will be pulled from North Carolina because the state refused to guarantee the event could be held in Charlotte without public health restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

And on top of those same health concerns, some Jacksonville political leaders said drawing the attention of more protesters would be unwise.

“I think it makes it a powder keg for Jacksonville,” said Daniel Henry, chair of Duval County Democratic Party. “It would make Jacksonville the landing ground for every type of protest that may occur. I don’t think we’re ready for it.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis said his state could handle putting together plans for the convention over the next three months, and mentioned Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami as potential host cities.

Duval County has 18,00 hotel homes and of the eight hotels downtown and on the Southbank there are 2,361 rooms.

A traditional GOP convention brings together roughly 2,500 delegates, the same number of alternate delegates and many times more guests, journalists and security personnel.


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