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Mayors Castor, Kriseman Not Fans Of Republican Convention Moving To Florida

Protestors march in downtown Tampa during the Republican National Convention Aug. 27, 2012. This year's RNC might be moved from Charlotte, NC - but Mayor Jane Castor does not want Tampa to host it.
Steve Newborn
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The mayors of Tampa Bay's two largest cities are reacting to state Republican leaders floating the possibility that this summer's Republican National Convention could be coming to Florida.

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday about moving the convention out of Charlotte because North Carolina was not opening fast enough from the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that Florida would welcome the RNC.

“Heck, I'm a Republican, it'd be good for us to have the DNC (Democratic National Convention) in terms of the economic impact when you talk about major events like that,” DeSantis said during an event in Miami where he named the two newest members of the state Supreme Court.

But St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman was not as enthusiastic during a Facebook Live briefing Tuesday.

“It’s really kind of amazing that that idea has even been floated out there by the (Trump) administration,” Kriseman said.

"Putting on an event of this size and scale takes months and months of preparation, so I don't see how realistically that could even happen, so I think it’s a non-issue.”

Kriseman said that he expects the convention will go on as planned in North Carolina. It’s scheduled to take place August 24-27.

A protestor faces off with law enforcement officers in downtown Tampa during the Republican National Convention on Aug. 27, 2012.
Credit Eric Mennel / WUSF Public Media
The Florida Channel
A protestor faces off with law enforcement officers in downtown Tampa during the Republican National Convention on Aug. 27, 2012.

The office of Kriseman's fellow Democrat, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, issued a similar statement Tuesday.

“Consideration of this would be irresponsible at this time,” spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said in an email to WUSF News.

Bauman went on to point out that when the city hosted the Republican National Convention in 2012 – when Castor was Chief of the Tampa Police – it took 18 months of preparation, 60 agencies working together, and had a price tag of $50 million.

She also said that Tampa would be in the middle of a potentially intense hurricane season in August, and is also preparing for Super Bowl LV in February 2021.

And Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, also a Democrat, told NPR a big in-person convention is hard to imagine at the moment.

"I don't know how you commit today to doing something in two months where you don't know what the situation is going to be," said Gelber. "You don't know whether or not you're gonna need to have proper social distancing with masks and all the other accouterments that we've been told we have to follow."

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Mark Schreiner has been the producer and reporter for "University Beat" on WUSF 89.7 FM since 2001 and on WUSF TV from 2007-2017.