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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

With 200 days to go, Tampa Bay Host Committee has raised 'tens of millions' for RNC



With 200 days to go, the host committee for the Republican National Convention has raised more than a third of the $55 million needed to help stage the event.

“Tens of millions of dollars” in cash and in-kind contributions was how host committee president Ken Jones described fundraising on Wednesday.

Whether that’s two, three or four tens, Jones would not say, but it’s been a good week. Monday morning, he opened an envelope from a Florida company to find a check for $1 million. That afternoon, another million arrived from a different Florida company via wire.

But Jones told a crowd of more than 200 that raising funds isn’t easy in a sputtering economy nor does it get a boost while the nomination is undecided.

“We really do stay neutral” during the primaries, Jones told a business breakfast at the University Club sponsored by the Trenam Kemkerlaw firm. The host committee is nonprofit and nonpartisan, and its mission is to support an event that promotes Tampa Bay.

So when people ask him about Rick Santorum winning three primaries, Jones answers, “it actually makes our job a little harder, to be honest with you, because people get excited about conventions when there’s certainty, and right now, there’s no certainty.”

The host committee, however, isn’t the only group preparing 200 days out. Police and protesters, city officials and civil libertarians — all are making plans. Full story here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 12:56pm]


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