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Tampa nabs 2012 Republican convention. Er, congratulations?

A GOP site selection team announced Wednesday that Tampa, Fla., is the pick for the 2012 Republican convention. While many cities benefit from hosting a convention, some have found pitfalls.

By Husna HaqCorrespondent / May 12, 2010

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty speaks at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. on Sept. 4, 2008. Republicans choose Tampa as the site of their 2012 presidential convention, hoping the swing state of Florida will help them defeat President Barack Obama.

Paul Sancya/AP/File


And the winner is …

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… or is it the loser?

The Republican National Committee’s site selection team announced Wednesday that Tampa, Fla., is its pick for the 2012 Republican convention.

That should bring lots of revenue, tourists, and attention to the Gulf Coast city, right? Er, it might also mean lost investments, protests, and lingering lawsuits.

But the RNC isn't concerned about that. It just wants a warm, sunny place to throw a party for its party for four days in 2012. So, like many fun-loving college kids, it chose Tampa.

It’s not hard to see why.

As a battleground state, “Florida is a valuable commodity to any party,” says Stephen Hess, senior fellow emeritus at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

And the competition wasn’t exactly fierce.

Phoenix, now known as the capital of the state that just passed America’s toughest immigration law, doesn’t quite send the welcoming vibe Republicans are looking for.

And Salt Lake City may be too white, too Mormon, for a party that’s trying to diversify its ranks (hello Michael Steele).

Surely, the lavish wining and dining that local Republicans treated the 12-member site selection committee to in March didn’t hurt.

If the RNC affirms the Tampa pick in August, the 2012 RNC convention will be held at the St. Pete Times Forum – bringing tens of thousands of visitors, hundreds of millions of dollars, and one big challenge to city planners scrambling to raise funds, beef up security, and manage logistics.


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