JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Republican National Convention could be coming to Jacksonville in 2028.
Action News Jax has confirmed party officials were in Jacksonville Tuesday touring the city.
A party spokesperson said Tuesday’s visit was a technical walk through to ensure the city could meet the technological needs of the event, which may have been why we saw jumbotron at the 121 Financial Ballpark, where the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Play, lit up with the words, “2028 Republican National Convention, Jacksonville.”
It’s one of the first steps in considering the city as a possible host.
UNF Political Science Professor Dr. Michael Binder said after the city attempted to host the RNC in 2020, it’s not too surprising it’s being looked at again by party leaders.
“2020 might have put us on the map for potentially 2028,” said Binder.
In 2020 the RNC was supposed to be held in Charlotte, but the pandemic threw a wrench in the plans.
Jacksonville offered to take over, but in July of 2020, then-Sheriff Mike Williams announced his department couldn’t provide adequate security for the event with such short notice and the city was taken off the table as an option.
“The security for something like this is not insignificant. You had a sitting President and everything that goes along with that, plus all of the political dignitaries if you will,” said Binder.
But Dr. Binder said more than five years out, logistics shouldn’t be an issue if the city were selected to host in 2028.
Of course, Jacksonville has to land the bid first… And even if it does, the event could prove to be a double-edged sword.
“If your city is positioned well and you can turn that into positive advertising, great. If there’s problems and your city isn’t situated well and you can’t handle the infrastructure and the hotel rooms and that sort of thing, maybe it doesn’t go so well like the last time that Jacksonville hosted a Super Bowl,” said Binder.
Binder said as far as potential revenue the city could gain from hosting the event goes, sales tax goes to the state, so there’d be no impact there.
But local hotels and restaurants would likely see a boost in business for a week.
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