Tampa Seen as 2012 Republican Convention Host

Western states expected to be in line to get the 2016 Republican National Convention.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

The Republican National Committee this week is expected to signal it's choice for the host city of the 2012 presidential nominating convention and the heavy betting is on Tampa, Florida, according to those involved in the process. That means Salt Lake City and Phoenix are out, a snub western states aren't happy about.

Insiders say that the committee reviewing the three cities will make a recommendation as early as this week. The RNC will vote on it later, but that's usually a rubber stamp.

Some of those involved say that Tampa out-lobbied and out-shined the two other competitors, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, despite a move inside the party to reach out more to western states like Utah and Arizona. What's more, front-running 2012 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney recently spoke favorably about Tampa, irking his Mormon allies in Salt Lake City, also home to the 2002 Winter Olympics which Romney organized.

But while Tampa lobbied RNC officials in Florida and Washington, the efforts by the other two cities fell short of an all out offensive, according to one official involved in the process. Florida advocates say hosting the late August 2012 presidential nominating convention in Tampa is a way to show the Sunshine State that it is wanted by the Republicans. Florida is sometimes a swing state in presidential elections.

The other cities apparently are so convinced that Tampa is the leading venue that they considered teaming up to push Salt Lake City as the best western choice, though a deal was never cut. What's more, Salt Lake and Utah officials have been talking about how they will be the front-runner to host the 2016 convention.

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