Tampa invited to bid on 2012 GOP convention
Twice Tampa has been rejected by the GOP in its search for a city to host the Republican National Convention. But the party still wants to know whether local leaders want to welcome them for the 2012 event.
National party chairman Michael Steele sent a letter to Mayor Pam Iorio at the end of August inviting Tampa to bid on the event. A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee declined to say how many cities were asked to bid, but in 2006, the invitation went to 31 cities.
Tampa was a finalist in the competition for the 2004 and 2008 conventions, but lost out to New York and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Both times, Tampa developer and Republican fundraiser Al Austin led the effort to bring the convention here. “I would be willing to work on it one more time. Most of the heavy lifting has been done,” Austin said. Iorio did not return a call for comment.
Local organizers estimated hosting the 2008 convention, that had a price tag of $124 million, would cost taxpayers about $85 million, with that money coming from local, state and federal sources. Iorio had pledged to cap the city’s contribution to the event at $1 million in in-kind services. A private campaign hoped to raise $40 million.
Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer