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Planning the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa

Breaking down the Republican presidential field

The field still may grow, but it's likely one of these candidates will accept the Republican nomination for president a year from now in Tampa. Times political editor Adam C. Smith assesses their chances:

Michele Bachmann

The Minnesota congresswoman has a lot of fans among tea party conservatives and evangelical voters. But since winning a widely watched mock election in Iowa earlier this month, fellow tea party darling Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has overshadowed her.

Herman Cain

Has a great story of rising from poverty through faith and hard work to become CEO of Godfather's Pizza and board member of the Federal Reserve in Kansas City. Cain is a powerful speaker, but except for one strong debate performance, has failed to gain traction.

Newt Gingrich

From snapping at questions over his revolving account at Tiffany's to his staff quitting en masse over Gingrich's leisurely schedule, the former U.S. House speaker's campaign has been a disaster from the start. He's an idea guy who in this race has been more of a sideshow.

Jon Huntsman

Can someone who worked in the Obama administration win a GOP primary? By some accounts the former Utah governor and ambassador to China is the candidate most feared by the Obama team, but his Florida-based campaign is stuck at the bottom of polls.

Gary Johnson

He's a libertarian, popular former governor of New Mexico dubbed "Governor Veto" for his spending vetoes. He is also virtually invisible in the presidential race, excluded from debates because he barely registers in the polls.

Thaddeus McCotter

The Michigan congressman plays electric guitar, is known for his wit and once tried to eliminate the GOP House Policy Council as a way to cut federal spending. Looks like darkest of dark horses, though he is said to generate enthusiasm with young conservatives.

Ron Paul

The Texas congressman is an intellectual force who polls well ahead of some other candidates taken more seriously by pundits and media. A pro-life libertarian with a passionate following, he's still written off as unelectable by most Republican leaders.

Rick Perry

The Texas governor presiding over a state with nice job growth, Perry shot to the top of the field despite a late entry into the race. A prodigious fundraiser and tea party favorite, he looks like the biggest threat to Mitt Romney winning the nomination.

Buddy Roemer

Affable, with a deep drawl, Roemer served in Congress as a conservative Democrat, won election as Louisiana governor and then became a Republican. Now he's back and won't take any contribution over $100. No money. No name recognition. No chance.

Mitt Romney

He's been running for seven years, has a vast network, overwhelmingly outraised all his GOP rivals and is a savvy businessman when the economy is the No. 1 issue. And yet Republican activists keep pining for a credible alternative to the former Massachusetts governor.

Rick Santorum

Social conservatives adore the former Pennsylvania senator's principles, but Santorum lost his last campaign, for Senate in 2006, by 18 percentage points. He hoped for a nice boost with a strong showing at Iowa's straw poll this month, but came in fourth.

By the numbers

Fundraising goal of Tampa Bay Host Committee: $55 million.

Expected visitors: 45,000.

VIPs, including members of Congress and assorted dignitaries: 10,000.

Credentialed media: 15,000.

Hotel rooms booked for every night of convention: 15,000+.

500 Convention staffers: 500.

Volunteers: 8,000.

Delegates and alternates: 6,000.

Estimated number of Florida delegates: 114.

Police officers needed: 3,500- 4,200.

Last time a presidential nominating convention was held in Florida (Miami Beach hosted Republicans and Democrats): 1972

Event venues under contract on both sides of Tampa Bay: 75.

The host committee

The nonprofit 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee is charged with coordinating the area's efforts for next year's Republican National Convention. Here is a list of committee members:

  • *Al Austin, chairman and chief executive of the Austin Companies
  • *Dick Beard, chairman and president, R.A. Beard Co.
  • *Ron Ciganek, senior VP of USAmeriBank;
  • *Don DeFosset, retired CEO of Walter Industries
  • *Bill Edwards, chief executive, Mortgage Investors Corp.
  • *Stephen Mitchell, partner, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey
  • *Robert I. Watkins, CPA and owner of Robert Watkins & Co.
  • *Ken Jones, executive vice president and general counsel for Communications Equity Associates
  • *Paul Catoe, president and CEO of Tampa Bay & Co.
  • *Bob Martinez, former Florida governor
  • Carlos Alfonso, CEO, Alfonso Architects
  • Rick Baker, former St. Petersburg mayor
  • Thilo Best, chairman and CEO, Horizon Bay Retirement Living
  • Michael Corcoran, founding partner, Corcoran, Johnston & Blair
  • Ronnie Duncan, former chairman, Pinellas County Commission and president, the Duncan Companies
  • Tom duPont, publisher, duPont Registry
  • Maryann Ferenc, proprietor, Mise en Place
  • Aaron Fodiman, publisher and editor, Tampa Bay Magazine
  • Judy Genshaft, president, University of South Florida
  • Dick Greco, former Tampa mayor
  • Oscar Horton, president, Sun State International Trucks Inc.
  • Tom James, executive chairman, Raymond James Financial
  • Joseph Kadow, executive VP, Outback Steakhouse
  • Tod Leiweke, chief executive officer of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, whose subsidiaries include the Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Pete Times Forum
  • Sandy MacKinnon, CEO, Yale Industrial Trucks
  • Patrick Manteiga, publisher and editor of La Gaceta newspaper
  • Rick Michaels, chairman and chief executive officer, Communications Equity Associates
  • Lou Plasencia, chairman and CEO, Plasencia Group
  • John Ramil, president and CEO, TECO Energy
  • Michelle Robinson, president, Verizon Southeast Region
  • John R. Schueler, president, Media General, Florida Communications Group
  • Mel Sembler, chairman, Sembler Co., former U.S. ambassador to Italy and Australia
  • *Kathleen Shanahan, chair and CEO, WRScompass
  • Chuck Sykes, president and CEO, Sykes Enterprises
  • Paul Tash, chairman and CEO, St. Petersburg Times
  • Jeff Vinik, owner, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Joe Williams, president, Kimmins Contracting

* Executive committee.

Key dates

As multiple states try to buck RNC rules allowing only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to hold nominating contests before March 6, the primary calendar is anyone's guess. But a number of events are set:

Sept. 12: CNN/Tea Party Express GOP presidential debate at Tampa Fairgrounds.

Sept. 22-24: Presidency V, the Republican Party of Florida event with a straw poll and debate, coupled with Florida CPAC, a huge conservative gathering.

Oct. 1: Deadline for not-yet-named committee to settle on a date for the Florida presidential primary.

December: Media walk-through of convention space.

January-June 2012: Primary nominating process.

Early 2012: Republican presidential debate hosted by the St. Petersburg Times, NBC News, National Journal and the Florida Council of 100.

Aug. 27-30: Republican National Convention at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.

Sept. 3-6: Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Nov. 6: General election.

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Planning the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa 08/26/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 29, 2011 9:25am]
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