Tampa Bay officials go to DC to bid for GOP Convention in '08 by Mitch E. Perry

04/11/06

Today an 18 member delegation of community leaders from the Tampa Bay Area were in Washington, trying to influence Republican National Committee members that the 2008 GOP Convention should be held in Tampa.

The Republican National Convention has asked 31 cities if they were interested in bidding for the Convention – all but Chicago and Indianapolis have submitted bids.

Tampa was on the short list for the 2004 Convention, which ultimately was awarded to New York City.

But officials believe that they have what it takes to secure a bid by the RNC for 2008. Al Austin is the Chairman of the Committee vying to bring the Convention to Tampa (roll tape#1 o.q.�were in the right place�)

Austin also played up the would be site of the Convention, the St. Pete Times Forum, and that there are more hotel rooms available than 4 years ago (roll tape#2 o.q.�very good position�)

Joining Austin in making their pitch to the Committee responsible for selecting the host site in 2008 was Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, Tampa Bay Lightening and Times Forum President Ron Campbell, and Greg Cox, the Executive Director for the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission , who acknowledges there would be transportation challenges if the Convention were to come to Tampa (roll tape#3 o.q. “piece all of this together�)

Last month, gridlock enveloped downtown Tampa when an all-day motivation seminar was booked at the Times Forum at 8AM…..After that incident, local officials said the city would no no longer be allowing morning events downtown because it could not handle the extra traffic.

Greg Cox from the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission says he doesn’t worry about something like that happening if the Republican National Convention were to take place in Tampa (roll tape#4 o.q.�from re-occuring�)

Seemingly the biggest negative item for Tampa would be something that was rarely if ever discussed during the last bid for the Convention – that being hurricanes, which Florida has endured 7 major storms in the past 2 years….But Tampa Bay Host Committee Chair and Longtime Republican fundraiser Al Austin says he’s not worried about major fact, despite the fact the Convention would take place in the first week of September of 2008 (roll tape#5 o.q.�this could be prepared��)

The Democratic Party recently made news when they announced that their 2008 convention will begin on August 25th, and last thru august 28th… A date is generally not announced so early, but democrats say they do NOT want to be in the same position they were in back in’04, when Republicans took a date in late August, forcing the Democrats to hold their nominating convention in late July to avoid competing with the Summer Olympics. As a result, presidential nominee John F. Kerry had to give his address a month earlier than President Bush and withstand an additional month of GOP attacks.

A decision regarding the site of the 2008 Republican Convention is expected by February. 1st, 2007.

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