Thursday, May 24, 2018
Politics

Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum to speak at GOP convention

TAMPA — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be among the headliners speaking at the Republican National Convention, GOP chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday.

Bush, currently chairman of the Foundation for Florida's Future, was included in a second list of speakers announced for the Aug. 27-30 convention.

"This election comes down to a fundamental choice — between Mitt Romney's commitment to business innovation and job growth and the president's record of government taxation and takeovers," Bush said in a statement released through the RNC.

Other speakers announced Tuesday include:

• Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who ended a presidential bid in April after pushing birth control, abortion and other social issues to the forefront of the GOP primary.

• U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, junior senator from Kentucky, founder of the U.S. Senate Tea Party Caucus and the son of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. (The elder Paul will hold his own free public rally at the University of South Florida Sun Dome on Aug. 26, the day before the convention begins.)

• Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, the first woman to serve as both Oklahoma lieutenant governor and governor, and the first woman elected to Congress from Oklahoma since the 1920s.

• Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who survived a recall election earlier this year after tangling with Democrats.

Willie Nelson out; Randy Travis in

Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker had been scheduled to play a convention-week benefit concert Aug. 29 at the Dallas Bull, but they have a scheduling conflict, organizers said Tuesday night.

So instead, Randy Travis will play the private concert on behalf of Got Your 6, a nonprofit group that raises funds and awareness for military veterans.

Hotel bookings exceed convention projection

As of Tuesday, more than 90,000 hotel room nights had been booked for the convention — more than the 75,000 that organizers originally projected.

"I think there's some come-early, stay-late traffic," Tampa Bay Host Committee president Ken Jones said. Other factors could include the Labor Day holiday weekend immediately following the RNC, the fact that the Republican Party will hold some meetings the week before the convention and Florida's reputation as a tourist destination.

Courts gearing up for protest arrests

Authorities hope there won't be a lot of protesters arrested during the RNC, but if there are, the court system is gearing up to handle them.

For the convention, Hillsborough County officials are preparing to have three hearings — at 8 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. — for people arrested making their first appearances in court, assistant public defender Rocky Brancato said Tuesday night during a forum hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. "It appears that people coming through (the) Orient Road (jail) will be processed in a matter of a couple of hours," he said. And because of the extra hearings, "if you get arrested that day, there's a good chance that you're going to be in court that same day on one of those dockets."

Lawmakers to play ball during RNC

Maverick PAC, the group founded by George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush, to target conservative young professionals across the country, will hold a Mav Bash and a Mav baseball game during the Republican National Convention.

At 10:30 a.m. Aug. 29, assorted members of Congress will play a six-inning baseball game at Tampa's Steinbrenner Field.

At 10 that night is the party featuring George P. Bush, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa. Party sponsorships start at $5,000.

RNC by the numbers

4,567

Total number of volunteers who have signed up with the Tampa Bay Host Committee to help during the convention. Volunteer registration is closed.

Times political editor Adam C. Smith contributed to this report.

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