TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Host Committee, which has worked for more than a year to raise $55 million to support the Republican National Convention, has met its goal, a leader of the group said Thursday.
"It's all done," Host Committee co-chairman Dick Beard said. "I don't have the final number, but we've got the money we need to write the checks."
Beard, who a year ago expected the effort to be a "heavy lift," said it turned out to be harder than even he anticipated. "We didn't get it done until the last two weeks," he said. It's a tough economy, and he said some Florida companies are not accustomed to giving money to help stage national political conventions.
Committee president Ken Jones declined to disclose the total raised by the nonprofit, nonpartisan group. "We've obviously raised enough money to host an extremely successful convention," he said. "Fundraising went extremely well."
The committee will detail its donors and spending, as required, in a report to be filed with the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15. But in recent weeks Jones has consistently said the committee met every fundraising benchmark that the Republican Party set for it.
To reach the goal, the committee hired a national fundraiser with convention experience, tapped into the networks of its well-connected members, crafted its pitches to cross party lines, emphasized the branding opportunities for corporate brands and worked to show that the convention would showcase the Tampa Bay area and boost the local economy.
"We had some great support from some incredible people in this community — not just national companies but local people in this community that really, really stepped up," Jones said.