WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed Friday that Jacksonville will host Republican National Convention in August.
The governor said the RNC will make sure measures are in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
Republican National Committeeman and Florida delegate Peter Feaman said he is excited about his party’s convention relocating to Jacksonville but says details are still being worked out.
“Our goal is to try to have everybody in attendance, even if it’s for a lesser time period,” said Feaman.
The move to Florida comes after the governor of North Carolina couldn’t commit to hosting the convention, which is scheduled for the end of August amid the pandemic.
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Feaman said Jacksonville was the best option because of DeSantis, the city's Republican mayor and major donors in northeast Florida, who he says are willing to defray the cost of moving the convention.
Feaman said he believes the move to Florida will have an impact on voters here at home.
“I think it’ll help because we’ll be able to showcase the president in his now home state,” said Feaman.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo responded to the move.
"Donald Trump abandoned North Carolina because he wants it to look like the threat of the coronavirus is over when he gives his big televised speech,” Rizzo said. “Trump is coming to Florida to throw himself a big party.”
“I think it’s a little premature for somebody to comment on social distancing in the middle of June when we’re talking about the last week of August,” Feaman said.
Florida Atlantic University Political Scientist Dr. Kevin Wagner said the president chose Jacksonville because it is in a swing state and close to Georgia.
“When we look at research where conventions are held, there isn’t a great deal of support for the idea that conventions really move the needle,” said Wagner. “I think ultimately about Florida, it won’t be about having the convention to persuade people, I think for President Trump it’ll be about having the convention to encourage his voters to turn out in high numbers.”
The Republican National Committee said the re-nomination of President Trump will take place at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena and that official business of the national convention will still take place in Charlotte.