• Thomas Parker

GOP selects Jacksonville, FL for convention keynotes

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced that Jacksonville will host a series of Republican National Convention keynote events in August, including a prime-time speech from President Donald Trump accepting the Republican nomination. The gathering is expected to last several nights.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion in the great city of Jacksonville," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said late Thursday in a statement. "Not only does Florida hold a special place in President Trump’s heart as his home state, but it is crucial in the path to victory in 2020. We look forward to bringing this great celebration and economic boon to the Sunshine State in just a few short months."

GOP officials had been wanting to hold their convention in Charlotte, but North Carolina Democrat Roy Cooper stood in the way by refusing to give assurances that they would allow signature convention events, citing concerns about spreading the coronavirus.

The convention's official business meetings will still take place in Charlotte, but the party's big events will be broadcast from Jacksonville, a city led by Republicans in Trump's newly adopted home state, which also is led by Republicans.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, had been lobbying to draw the event to his city after the RNC made it clear that it was open to moving it from Charlotte. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, also supported the RNC coming to his state.

The decision to choose Jacksonville as the site of the RNC events is another sign of Florida’s outsized significance in the coming presidential election. The Trump campaign has made Florida a cornerstone of the president's reelection strategy. Trump won the state by fewer than 113,000 votes in 2016.

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