Republican Party Plans Tampa '12 Convention

By Mike Allen

The Republican National Committee’s site-selection committee is expected to name Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday as site of the party’s 2012 convention, top Republicans tell POLITICO.

The site-selection committee is scheduled to announce a choice among three finalists: Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Tampa. The committee has made high-publicity visits to the top prospects, which put on the dog to show what they could do for the GOP.

“It comes down to Florida being a key targeted state in the past several elections, and it’ll continue to be in future elections,” a top GOP operative said. “There’s a practical effect, in that it’ll bring a lot of attention and resources to a targeted state.”

The GOP convention will be held the week of Aug. 27. The site-selection committee has not taken its formal vote yet. The nomination will get an up-or-down ratification vote at the RNC’s summer meeting.

Republican operatives say a camp within the party favored Salt Lake City because of the uncertainty in the Sunshine State’s Senate and gubernatorial races. But others argue that if anything, the convention would boost the party’s Senate candidate, Marco Rubio.

The operatives said Phoenix was eliminated, largely because Arizona in late August reminds Republicans of their sweltering 1992 convention in Houston. And the Grand Canyon State is facing boycotts because of its new immigration law, which would not present an inviting face for the party.

Choosing Utah would be taken as a sign of retreat — hunkering down in one of the nation’s whitest states, the operatives said.

The proposed venues: US Airways Center in Phoenix, EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City and St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.

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