Republicans choose Tampa for 2012 presidential convention

Published 8:10 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2010

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Republicans chose Tampa as the site of their 2012 presidential convention Wednesday, hoping the swing state of Florida will help them defeat President Barack Obama.

A Republican National Committee panel recommended the Gulf Coast city during a closed-door meeting, rejecting GOP strongholds of Salt Lake City and Phoenix. The decision came amid calls from Hispanic groups and others to boycott Arizona after it adopted a law to crack down on illegal immigrants, although party members insisted their decision against Phoenix was not linked to that legislation.

“We got it!” RNC Secretary Sharon Day, a Floridian, shouted into a hotel hallway as she danced out of the closed-door meeting.

“I think that we are one of the bellwether states. … We’ll be stronger for 2012. It will give us an opportunity to strengthen our volunteer base,” she said.

Florida, with its hefty 27 electoral votes, decided the 2000 election for George W. Bush. Obama won the state in 2008.