Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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Curry on hotel assignment: “Surprised, disappointed, aggravated”
Posted Apr 30, 2012 by William March
Updated Apr 30, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Florida Repbublican Party Chairman Lenny Curry says he’s “surprised, disappointed and aggravated” by the assignment of the Florida delegation to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa to a hotel in Pinellas County.
The delegation will be staying at Innisbrook, a deluxe golf resort in Palm Harbor. But it’s a minimum 25-mile, 40-minute commute from the scene of the convention in downtown Tampa, and likely more depending on the route.
Florida Republicans have been expecting they’d get less-than-choice hotel accommodations because the state held its presidential primary Jan. 31, earlier than party rules allow.
But, Curry points out, other states also broke the schedule and got closer hotel accommodations. He didn’t want to name states, but one example is Michigan, staying at the Embassy Suites downtown.
Why? It’s presumptive nominee Mitt Romney’s second home state, the place he grew up, and also a potential swing state.
Florida is also a swing state, “if not the most important swing state in the election, and our grassroots activists are going to be penalized for something they have no input in,” Curry said, referring to the primary date, which was set by the state Legislature.
“I’m surprised, disappointed, aggravated, but the big picture here is to deliver the state for Mitt Romney and that’s our goal,” he said. “We’ll move on, we won’t be petty.”
Curry said he’s angry because the convention delegates are the grass-roots activists who will do the work of voter turnout during the campaign.
James Davis, a spokesman for the RNC’s Committee on Arrangements, which made the hotel assignments, denied that punishment for the too-early primary date was any part of the reason for the hotel assignment. But Curry responded, “There are hotels in Tampa proper that could have housed our delegation.”