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2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa: Your questions answered

What happened?

The Republican National Committee's site selection committee picked Tampa as the host for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Runners-up were Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

When is it?

During the week of Aug. 27, 2012.

How many people will attend?

An estimated 40,000 to 45,000 people — including roughly 15,000 journalists, 6,000 delegates and alternates, 10,000 volunteers, 500 convention staffers, 10,000 visitors such as members of Congress and assorted dignitaries.

Where will it be held?

The convention itself will be held at the St. Pete Times Forum in downtown Tampa. The media facility is expected to be in massive temporary tent buildings beside the Forum or at the Tampa Convention Center.

Will the city of Tampa be on the hook financially?

The host committee has promised the city and state won't be on the hook for a dime. The host committee intends to raise $40 million to $50 million in private, tax-deductible donations. Congress is expected to appropriate about $50 million for each convention's security expenses, and the Federal Election Commission grants each party about $18 million for conventions.

What were the bid requirements?

Minimum requirements for hosting the event include a convention facility with seating for 18,000, including 2,500 floor seats; 15,000 hotel rooms; 40,000 square feet of office space; 350,000 square feet for media; and parking for up to 1,500 cars and 300 buses. The Tampa Bay area has it all.

How does that compare to the Super Bowl?

According to the NFL, about 100,000 out-of-town visitors attend at least part of Super Bowl week. They credentialed close to 5,000 members of the media, from 28 countries for the most recent Tampa game. The Super Bowl host committees use approximately 6,000 volunteers and are required to arrange around 10,000 hotel rooms. According to the Sport Management Research Institute, the Big Game had an impact of $463 million in South Florida this year and generated about $66 million worth of print and broadcast advertising for the host city.

Will Charlie Crist be invited to Tampa in 2012?

Time will tell. Crist submitted a video urging the RNC to pick Tampa, but since then Crist became a pariah to many GOP leaders, for dropping out of the GOP Senate primary and running as a nonpartisan candidate. But if Crist wins the Senate race and caucuses with the GOP, he would likely be invited. Democratic-leaning Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., was invited to the last GOP convention where he spoke on behalf of nominee John McCain. On Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Crist said he'll be involved as much as he can. "As a Floridian, I'm proud it's in our state," he said.

Who's the host?

More than two dozen civic and business leaders, including Democrats, are on the host committee. The main leaders include: Al Austin, chairman and CEO of Austin Cos.; Don DeFosset, retired CEO of Walter Industries; Dick Beard, chairman and CEO of R.A. Beard Co.; Ken Jones, executive vice president and general counsel for Communications Equity Associates; Ron Ciganek, executive VP of Regions Bank; Paul Catoe, president and CEO of Tampa Bay & Co.

What's next in terms of planning?

The host committee will announce a CEO, start hiring staff and hunting office space and then immediately concentrate on the main job: raising money. The RNC will quickly dispatch staff to Tampa, and soon preliminary traffic and security plans will be drawn up.

What parts of the event will have access for the public?

All convention events require tickets, but there may be some auxiliary events that are open to the public.

What happens if a hurricane threatens Tampa during convention week?

There is no contingency plan at this point, but at the 2008 GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the party scaled back convention activities when a hurricane threatened the Gulf Coast.

Has there ever been a political convention in Florida?

In 1972, Miami Beach hosted both the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

Where will the Democrats be?

No site has been selected for the Democrats for 2012, but St. Louis is reportedly the leading contender in a field that includes Charlotte, N.C., and Cleveland.

Times staff writer Aaron Sharockman contributed to this report, which also used information from the National Football League.

2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa: Your questions answered 05/12/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 4:46pm]
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