RNC hotel assignments out -- Florida gets Innisbrook Resort, 30 miles from Tampa Bay Times Forum
The coveted hotel assignments for the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa are out, and Florida will be sent to the convention's version of Siberia.
The Republican National Committee had vowed to give Florida lower priority for hotels as part of the punishment for state legislative leaders setting the presidential primary in January in violation of party rules. On Monday, the RNC Committee on Arrangements announced that the Florida delegation will be at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, nearly 32 miles from the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
"I'm p---ed off,'' said Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry. "We're one of the most important swing states, if not the most important swing state, and our activists and our donors are going to be punished for something they had nothing to do with."
Florida Republicans certainly could do a lot worse.
Innisbrook, a swank, sprawling property with a golf course, spa and multiple swimming pools and fine restaurants, is no Econo Lodge. Owner Sheila Johnson, co-founder of the BET network (and a major Democratic contributor) has significantly upgraded the resort in recent years.
Still, it's no easy stroll to downtown Tampa.
James Davis, spokesman for the committee on arrangements, said the Innisbrook assignment has nothing to do with Florida legislators setting the primary earlier than allowed. Rather, organizers searched for hotels that could accommodate the largest state delegations without dividing them between multiple venues.
Texas is at Saddlebrook Resort in Pasco County, New York is at the Hilton Clearwater Beach and California is at the TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach.
"There was no penalty assessed,'' Davis insisted, explaining that assignments were based on delegation sizes and the requests state parties submitted for room rates, meeting space and the like. "This is the first time we've been able to put Florida, California, Texas and New York in their single hotels without splitting them up."
That explanation doesn't pass the smell test to some party leaders, however.
"Anybody that takes a look at the list of hotels can see there are hotels in Tampa proper, not necessarily downtown Tampa, but the Westshore area or by the airport, that could have housed all of our (420 rooms). Those are just the facts,'' Curry said. "We'll be good soldiers. We understate there's a big picture, but it's disappointing."
There is some poetic justice for Florida. South Carolina GOP leaders had called on the party to move the convention out of Tampa Bay, as punishment for Florida's early primary. Turns out the South Carolina delegation will be bunking with Sunshine Staters at Innisbrook.
Some 16,000 rooms were reserved at 100 hotels in the bay area. Delegates will stay at 36 hotels. Here's the list:
Alabama - Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore
Alaska - Postcard Inn on the Beach
American Samoa - Hilton Clearwater Beach
Arizona - Embassy Suites Tampa - Airport Westshore
Arkansas - Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Ybor Historic District
California - Tradewinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach
Colorado - Holiday Inn Clearwater-St. Petersburg Airport
Connecticut - Bilmar Beach Resort
Delaware - Wyndham Tampa Westshore
District of Columbia - Wyndham Tampa Westshore
Florida - Innisbrook Resort
Georgia - Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
Guam - Alden Beach Resort & Suites
Hawaii - Sheraton Suites Tampa Airport Westshore
Idaho - St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater
Illinois - Sheraton Sand Key Resort
Indiana - Holiday Inn Harbourside
Iowa - Sunset Vistas Beachfront Suites
Kansas - Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Airport Westshore
Kentucky - Wyndham Garden Clearwater Beach
Louisiana - Saddlebrook Resort
Maine - Wyndham Tampa Westshore
Maryland - DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Tampa Bay
Massachusetts - Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina
Michigan - Embassy Suites Tampa – Downtown Convention Center
Minnesota - Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center
Mississippi - Hyatt Regency Tampa
Missouri - Tampa Airport Marriott
Montana - Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Clearwater Beach
Nebraska - Alden Beach Resort & Suites
Nevada - DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Tampa Airport – Westshore
New Hampshire - Wyndham Tampa Westshore
New Jersey - Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center
New Mexico - Holiday Inn Clearwater – St. Petersburg Airport
New York - Hilton Clearwater Beach
North Carolina - Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront
North Dakota - Bilmar Beach Resort
Northern Mariana Islands - Tradewinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach
Ohio - Mainsail Suites Hotel & Conference Center
Oklahoma - Best Western Bay Harbor Hotel
Oregon - Sheraton Sand Key Resort
Pennsylvania - DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tampa Airport – Westshore
Puerto Rico - Hilton Clearwater Beach
Rhode Island - Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key
South Carolina - Innisbrook Resort
South Dakota - Shephard's Beach Resort
Tennessee - Safety Harbor Resort & Spa
Texas - Saddlebrook Resort
U.S. Virgin Islands - Crystal Palms Beach Resort
Utah - Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore
Vermont - Wyndham Tampa Westshore
Virginia - Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key
Washington - Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Clearwater Beach
West Virginia - Sheraton Suites Tampa Airport Westshore
Wisconsin - Hyatt Regency Tampa
Wyoming - Sheraton Suites Tampa Airport Westshore