Could there be a last hurrah, Republican National Convention chase left for local GOP icon Al Austin? The GOP fund-raising maestro is definitely interested, and the city of Tampa, rejected for both the 2004 and 2008 gatherings, has been asked to make another pitch – for 2012.
Recall that Tampa, a city that has hosted four Super Bowls, came ever so close for ’04, but New York carried the day in the patriotic aftermath of 9/11. Tampa was also a finalist for ’08, but tropical storm-free Minneapolis/St. Paul won the bid.
Also recall that having the president’s brother as governor of Florida was worthless. Tampa was never a priority for (Miami-oriented) Jeb Bush – outside of tapping into the fund-raising connections of Austin.
Ultimately, September in hurricane-prone Florida may be an even bigger deal breaker than putting together a winning package — necessitating the commitment of eroding tax dollars — during a down economy.
But if Tampa decides to gear up and give it another go, here’s hoping that Charlie Crist sees it in his own interest to help deliver the GOP convention to the biggest swing state – one with 27 electoral votes – in the country. Maybe a Bush-less Tallahassee could matter this time.
And maybe Tampa could win one for Al Austin too.