Tampa is frontrunner for 2012 GOP convention?
At least that's our sense. Against Salt Lake City and Phoenix? It will be a big snub if the RNC stiffs America's biggest battllegrounnd again:
ST. PETERSBURG — If Tampa can't land the 2012 Republican convention, it's hard to see how it ever will get one.
Area boosters have been through the application process twice before and by all accounts wowed Republican National Committee officials who on Tuesday finished a two-day tour of the area.
"You do have a wonderful city that can accommodate a bigger convention than we've ever had before," gushed RNC site selection committee chairman Holly Hughes, a Michigan resident who attended Florida State University and graduated from high school in Naples.
The area has far more to offer in hotel rooms, museums and other amenities than when Tampa narrowly lost bids for the 2004 and 2008 conventions. And the competition is not as stiff as when post-9/11 New York City was tapped for 2004 and Minneapolis-St. Paul for 2008 when the Midwest was viewed as the critical battleground.
The other finalists? Phoenix, one of few places on earth hotter than Florida in August; and Salt Lake City, a city sure to cast a big spotlight on Mormonism when Mitt Romney is expected to be running for president. In terms of must-win battlegrounds, neither Utah nor Arizona is in the same league as Florida.