POLITICS

Republicans Move Convention Events, Trump Nomination Acceptance To Jacksonville, Florida

The GOP convention had been scheduled for Charlotte, North Carolina, before the coronavirus pandemic changed the city's plans.

After weeks of speculation and uncertainty about the future of this year’s Republican National Convention, the GOP said Thursday that several of the convention’s major events would be moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida.

The announcement marks the conclusion of a tense and lengthy deadlock between convention organizers and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D), who had refused to relax his state’s social-distancing restrictions for the event.

President Donald Trump, who had repeatedly threatened to move the convention unless Cooper changed his tune, said last week that the event would be relocated to an alternate city ― though he didn’t specify which. 

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel confirmed Thursday that Jacksonville, Florida’s most populous city, had been chosen to host the nominating convention’s larger events. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is a staunch ally of Trump’s, and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a long-serving GOP official, said last month that he’d be “honored” to host the convention.  

“We are thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion in the great city of Jacksonville,” McDaniel said. “Not only does Florida hold a special place in President Trump’s heart as his home state, but it is crucial in the path to victory in 2020.”

As The Wall Street Journal noted, some convention business will still be conducted in Charlotte as the Republican National Committee had signed a contract with the city. 

Instead of a four-day event, however, a limited number of delegates ― about 330 ― will officially nominate the party’s candidates for president and vice president in Charlotte on a single day at the end of August. 

The convention will then move to Jacksonville for its larger events, including Trump’s acceptance speech.

The convention is expected to be held Aug. 24-27, the Journal reported, quoting people familiar with the event. Some health precautions will be taken, including temperature checks, the paper said; but it’s expected that masks won’t be mandatory.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article referred to Gov. Roy Cooper as a Republican. He is a Democrat.