How's Tampa convention affected by RNC chairman's race?
The basic answer? Not much. Yes, Tampa was selected to host the 2012 Republican national convention, and yes, that decision was made under the leadership of controversial RNC Chairman Michael Steele who may not survive his re-election bid next month. But unlike prior years where the final decision really came down to the RNC chairman, Tampa Bay was chosen unanimously by RNC site selection committee members (and there weren't a lot of interested cities to choose from).
"If there was to be a new chairman they could make some changes but I don't think anything of a substantial nature,'' said Bob Bennett, the Republican national committeeman from Ohio who this week was named chairman of the RNC's Committee on Arrangements for the convention. Regardless of Steele's future, Tampa will host the five-day event expected to draw 45,000 people: "No question at all. That's a done deal."
Presumably, whoever is elected RNC chairman in January will want the 2012 Tampa convention to be as successful as possible. Al Austin, co-chairman of the host committee, didn't even want to touch the subject of the chairman's election: "We are not going to get involved in the outcome of the election of the chairman and will have no comment on that. Regardless of the election, the 2012 Tampa Bay host committee will work together with whoever is leading the RNC."
Steele has taken some heat for excessive early RNC spending on the Tampa convention, including tens of thousands of dollars to rent a waterfront Treasure Island home for Belinda Cook, his former assistant serving as liaison to the convention. Presumably, Cook's job would be considerably less secure with a new chairman, but the Committee on Arrangement plans to put a CEO on the ground soon anyway.
Keep in mind, though, that the RNC and its Committee on Arrangements are separate and distinct from the Tampa Host Committee. The Committee on Arrangements is responsible for political activities and spending, while the host committee raises $50-million in tax deductible contributions and essentially secures the venues and sets up the infrastructure for a big community event.
"No matter who the RNC chairman is we have the same job to do,'' said host committee president Ken Jones.
For these tracking such things, here's the full list of Steele's RNC appointments to the 2012 Committee on Arrangements:
Bob Bennett, NCM Ohio
Linda Ackerman, NCW California
Amanda Adkins, State Chairman Kansas
Dee Dee Benkie, NCW Indiana
David Cole, State Chairman Missouri
Sharon Day, NCW Florida, RNC Secretary
Luke Esser, State Chairman Washington
Sue Everhart, State Chairman Georgia
John Frey, NCM Connecticut
Holly Hughes, NCW Michigan
Pat Longo, NCW Connecticut
Glenn McCall, NCM South Carolina
Lilly Nunez, NCW Colorado
Randy Ruedrich, State Chairman Alaska
Herbert Schoenbohm, State Chairman Virgin Islands
Norm Semanko, State Chairman Idaho
Paul Senft, NCM Florida
Fredi Simpson, NCW Washington
Joyce Terhes, NCW Maryland
Bob Tiernan, State Chairman Oregon
Joe Trillo, NCM Rhode Island
Helen Van Etten, NCW Kansas
Charlie Webster, State Chairman Maine
Betsy Werronen, NCW District of Columbia
Ginny Haines, NCW New Jersey
Amata Radewagen, NCW American Samoa
Bora Van Dormolen, NCW Texas
Heidi Smith, NCW Nevada