“We are excited to celebrate this important occasion in the great city of Jacksonville,” McDaniel said in a news release. “Florida not only has a special place in President Trump’s heart as his home state, but it is crucial in the path to victory 2020. We look forward to bringing this great celebration and financial blessing to the Sunshine State in just a few short months.”
Trump will hold the speech at the 15,000-person VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, the release said.
Because the party signed an agreement to hold the convention in Charlotte, they are required to hold part of the convention in the city of North Carolina. But the announcement now guarantees that this year̵
By choosing Jacksonville to host this summer’s Republican event this summer, the Trump campaign is making a major investment in another critical battlefield state.
In 2016, Trump carried Duval County, which includes the entire Jacksonville, by just over 1 percentage point — but the neighborhood St. Johns County with more than 30 points. The stretch of northeast Florida is deep red Trump land, where the campaign believes they can expand their margins to help win Florida, which is crucial in creating a path to 270 electoral votes.
The Republican National Committee’s executive committee paved the way for the announcement on Wednesday night when they unanimously approved a plan to significantly cut convention proceedings that will take place in Charlotte and not make any changes to the party’s platform in 2016. The vote significantly links official business with each state and territory that sends only six delegates to the assembly, for a total of 336 delegates where it would have been over 2,500.
Delegates, whether physically present in Charlotte, will be able to vote for both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence by proxy, but only the six delegates present in Charlotte will be able to vote on other congressional deals, according to the rules. All delegates who would have been invited to Congress, the spokesman, said, will be invited to Trump’s acceptance speech.
After the Republican National Committee began to look for alternative venues, Jacksonville had long been one of the leading challengers hosting the festive part of the event. McDaniel said Wednesday that Jacksonville is “absolutely in the front running position” to host the Republican congressional celebration.
Jacksonville Republicans had created the site as the best metropolitan area where Republicans control both city and state government.
“This is Trump country here. This is the single best city in America, where the Republican National Convention can be hosted, and for several reasons. It’s a battleground county in a battlefield state, in a city where you have united Republican government, “Duval County Republican President Dean Black told CNN.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, former president of the Florida Republicans and one of the few Republican mayors in the big city, pitched his city as the next conference host on Twitter last week and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who talks to the president regularly, told Fox this month that the state was ready to host the event.
“We will be able to make these decisions about what precautions to take as you get closer, but to just exclude a convention at this stage, I think, is a mistake,” DeSantis said. “So we’ve said we want to be ‘yes’ to it, and I think you will be able to do that.”
Yet this week Curry was heckled with songs of “No RNC! No RNC!” when he marched with peaceful protesters after he announced that a Confederate statue would be removed from the City Hall. Curry listened patiently to the crocheting, which was echoed by the cry of “Black Lives Matter.” He repeated the unified call over and over again and became a rare Republican elected official to openly declare: “Black lives matter!”
After reports indicated that Jacksonville was a leading candidate to host Trump’s acceptance speech North Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Austin Cook said in a statement, “If the president is truly conditioned to believe that demanding a full-scale convention is reasonable, Jacksonville is more than welcome to host his acceptance speech. “
Officials had also considered Nashville, Las Vegas, Orlando and Savannah, Georgia.