Tampa is GOP’s 2012 pick
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY (Bay News 9) — After two previous attempts to lure the Republican convention, Tampa has struck Republican gold for 2012.
GOP officials notified city leaders Wednesday afternoon that Tampa is their top pick to host the 2012 committee. The city beat out Salt Lake City and Phoenix for the event.
The choice by the selection committee Wednesday still needs formal approval from the full Republican National Committee in August, but that is considered a formality.
Florida is a swing state in presidential elections with a hefty 27 electoral votes.
“This will be the largest non-sporting event that Tampa Bay has ever hosted and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome the 2012 RNC to our vibrant destination,” said Paul Catoe, president & CEO of Tampa Bay & Company. “Tampa Bay is a dynamic destination that offers warm weather and even warmer hospitality, and I know we will produce the most memorable convention ever.”
“Tampa is an excellent choice for the Party,” said Republican U.S. Sen. George LeMieux. “The nomination is great news for the people of the Tampa Bay region, reflecting the high quality of amenities the area and our state has to offer. Hosting Republicans from every corner of the United States is a high honor and a great responsibility. The convention will be a welcome economic boost for our communities. Florida is a pivotal state in national elections and this will be a great opportunity for Republicans to showcase our positive vision for a prosperous future.”
Third Time’s A Charm
Tampa had been a finalist for the convention in 2004 and 2008. In 2004 they lost to New York City and in 2008 they lost to Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Members of the Republican National Committee toured Tampa in March.
Officials checked out the St. Pete Times Forum and the Channelside District in addition to touring other areas of Tampa and Clearwater and St. Petersburg.
Committee members also were treated to a rally in support of the event.
Big Money For Tampa Bay
Officials said the convention will bring 40,000 to 50,000 people to Tampa and as much as $175 million in revenue.
D.T. Minich, the executive director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, believes Pinellas County will benefit, too.
“Every major hotel has a block of rooms set aside for this convention,” Minich said. “This convention is really the equivalent of three Super Bowls. That’s how big it is.”