Tampa-St. Pete failed in its bid to host a presidential debate in 1996. But it may be getting the 2012 GOP convention.
The Republicans' site selection committee has recommended Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida, as the locale for the 2012 GOP national convention. Florida won out over Salt Lake City and Phoenix, the other two cities seriously considered.
The full Republican National Committee will vote on the recommendation at its meeting this August.
The GOP convention will be held the week of August 27, 2012. The Democrats, at a location TBD, will hold their convention the following week. The incumbent party traditionally holds its convention last.
Republicans previously held their convention in Florida in 1968 and 1972, when they nominated, and then renominated, Richard Nixon in Miami Beach.
RNC chair Michael Steele said the Tampa area "boasts state-of-the-art facilities, exciting and vibrant downtowns, and a clear enthusiasm from the community to host our convention."
Left unsaid was the oppressive heat of the Phoenix summer — yes, I know, "dry heat" — as well as the threatened boycotts of Arizona in the wake of the state legislature's passage of a strict anti-illegal immigation bill.
And I'm not sure Salt Lake City offered the diversity the GOP might be seeking.
One more thought about the convention going to Florida. It is great news for Gov. Charlie Crist, who lobbied for the choice ... and who on the same day officially quit the Republican Party and became an unaffiliated voter.