JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 5,000 people are trying to end the idea of the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville before it ever officially starts. Rumors have been circulating since Mayor of Jacksonville Lenny Curry volunteered Jax as the host city before the President had even pulled the RNC out of Charlotte, North Carolina.
2. We would be honored to host the Republican National Convention in that same world class facility. Thankfully, @GovRonDeSantis and my administration have created a regulatory framework that operates in way that is attractive to significant events like these.— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) May 26, 2020
Since that moment on May 26, the topic hasn’t faded from news cycles. Then, an overnight report from The Washington Post Wednesday showed three Republicans confirmed to the paper that it was almost official: The RNC is coming to Jacksonville.
Last week, when rumors were first becoming more substantiated, a petition to prevent the move appeared online. It gained little traction until in the last 24 hours 5,000 supporters signed on.
A description of the petition reads, “The use of city of Jacksonville for the Republican National Convention must be prevented. The damages incurred will take years to recover from. It would out weigh any financial benefits that the city could hope for. This convention will bring with it the largest protests in the history of our country.”
The possibility of protests have more than a few concerned.
News4Jax Crime and Safety expert Ken Jefferson, who was a police officer for more than 20 years, said the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office would get help, both local and national on that front.
“These conventions always draw protesters,” Jefferson said. “Most of the time they are peaceful protesters with signs and chanting and cheering and things like that. For this particular type of protest, there’s not very much marching going on, so they can contain it a little bit better but JSO is going to have a lot of help with that.”
In a ‘reasons for signing’ section for the petition, several signers posted the RNC couldn’t feasibly follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19.
News4Jax expects an announcement from city leaders next week on the RNC’s potential move to Jacksonville.