2020 Republican National Convention to Be Held in Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Florida, USA. Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay 

The Republican National Convention (RNC) will take place in Jacksonville, Florida at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena this year. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and the GOP made the announcement via Twitter on Thursday, June 11. The City of Jacksonville was selected because the celebration in Charlotte, North Carolina could not be guaranteed by Governor Roy Cooper.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion in the great city of Jacksonville,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “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 boom to the Sunshine State in just a few short months.”

Not since 2012 has the Republican National Convention been held in Florida. The last time it was Mitt Romney who was the Republican nominee for President. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said back in May that he would be open to having the Republican National Convention in Florida this year. DeSantis even mentioned he’d be interested in having the Democratic National Convention held in Florida.

 “Florida is honored to host this special event where we will celebrate the re-nomination of President Donald J. Trump,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. “Jacksonville is a great city that will showcase Florida’s energy, facilities, entrepreneurship and commitment to bring together the delegates of the Republican Party at a historic time in our nation’s history.”

The decision to move the Republican National Convention to Jacksonville has left Charlotte’s host committee with “tens of millions” in contractual liabilities, the committee’s CEO John Lassiter said on Monday, June 15. The convention that was supposed to be held in August has prompted the host committee to call out the RNC for what they call “broken promises.” 

Lassiter told The Charlotte Observer, “I’ve got contracts that are a couple inches thick of what people promised to do and they’ve breached them. Now we’re trying to figure out how you work through the wind-down on an effort we’ve been focused on for two years.” Since July of 2018, the host committee has been working on getting the Republican National Convention to come to Charlotte.

COVID-19 concerns have been plaguing the RNC for some time now. Jacksonville is the most populous city in the Sunshine State with almost 900,000 people. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is promising a “full arena” for the Republican National Convention in August. While appearing on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” the former state GOP chair said on Saturday, June 13 that any health protocols that are deemed necessary will be in place. Curry said there will be temperature checks of people entering the arena, but masks may be optional.

The U.S. has seen a 36.5 percent increase in daily coronavirus cases in recent days as states lift stay-at-home orders, according to data obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Yahoo! News. Police brutality protests have drawn thousands to the streets. Florida has been one of the first states to open back up after a mandatory lockdown nationwide was issued in mid-March. 

Florida has had more than 70,000 confirmed cases and at least 2,877 deaths to date, according to the Florida Department of Health.