Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's Tampa meeting to discuss security money for RNC is canceled
UPDATE: A meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday morning between Tampa officials and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been canceled. McConnell had to stay in Washington D.C., Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.
With Congress grinding its way through yet another government shutdown showdown, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be in Tampa this week to meet with Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Ken Jones, president of the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee.
The topic of Tuesday’s meeting: the $55 million federal appropriation that Tampa has requested to pay for security during next year’s Republican National Convention, scheduled for Aug. 27-30, 2012.
“The RNC is going to pose a huge challenge for us,” Buckhorn said last week. “We’re going to have to hire an additional 3,000 law enforcement officers.”
Buckhorn, who recently spoke with the mayor of Minneapolis, the site with St. Paul of the 2008 GOP convention, said the law enforcement challenges will not just be inside the security perimeter set by the Secret Service.
“We’re going to have to protect Ybor City,” he said. “We’re going to have to project bridges” as delegates are bused in from hotels on the Pinellas beaches.
Despite the partisan wrangling in Washington, Buckhorn said he’s confident that the money will come through. “I think they will do it,” he said. “It’s just not coming as quickly as the mayor of Charlotte” – the site of the Democratic National Convention and a city that’s looking for security money of its own – “and I would like.”
-- Richard Danielson, Times staff writer