RNC searching for new Republican Convention site
Last week, Republican National Committee officials toured Nashville in search of a new venue for the August Republican Convention. On Monday, GOP convention president and CEO Marcia Lee Kelly was in Savannah for an official site visit.
The convention was originally scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina but the state’s Gov. Roy Cooper has not given the committee nor the president the assurances they want for the acceptance speech.
President Donald Trump says he fully intends to accept his party’s nomination in a packed convention hall.
The RNC and Cooper failed to reach an agreement over health and safety measures and the size of the crowds that would be allowed in North Carolina. The RNC had asked for a capacity crowd of 19,000 people inside the North Carolina arena but the state could not guarantee that the party would be able to have a full arena.
Cooper and North Carolina health officials also had concerns about how the GOP would be able to practice social distancing in order to keep attendees safe.
Charlotte will still host many of the formal parts of the convention, but the president’s acceptance speech will be held elsewhere.
“The RNC’s Executive Committee has voted unanimously to allow the official business of the national convention to continue in Charlotte. Many other cities are eager to host the president’s acceptance of the nomination, and we are currently in talks with several of them to host that celebration,” said RNC Communications Director Michael Ahrens.
Kelly was joined on Monday by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp who has made no secret that he wants his state to host the president. In addition to a venue, they toured Savannah’s historic district to scout key hotels with close proximity to the convention center.
“We are honored to offer a truly unmatched experience to the Republican National Convention,” said Kemp. “With world-renowned southern hospitality, first-class facilities, and a top-notch workforce, ‘The Hostess City of the South’ will leave a lasting impression on the RNC.”
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says he has not been informed of potential plans for the city to host the RNC this summer.
“I am strongly concerned about the impact that a convention of this magnitude would have on the health, safety and welfare of our city, her citizens and our budget,” said Johnson.
Sources familiar with the search say that Jacksonville, Florida is emerging as the most likely location although the RNC has not concluded its site visits yet. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Jacksonville would hold the convention but that has not yet been confirmed.
RNC officials will join Kelly later this week to visit sites in Phoenix and Dallas. President Trump is expected to make an announcement Thursday on the new location.
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