Dallas-Fort Worth is in the running to host at least part of the 2020 Republican National Convention, the chairman of the Texas Republican Party says.
The convention is scheduled from August 24-27 and was originally slated to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina. On June 3, the Republican National Committee backed out of staging a full-fledged event there after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, declined to let the GOP put on a convention that didn’t adhere to pandemic-era guidelines about face masks and social distancing.
Speculation has been swirling in recent days about replacement cities. DFW has been mentioned in the mix of potential locations, along with Nashville, Phoenix, New Orleans, Orlando, and Jacksonville, Florida.
According to James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, President Trump "would be more than happy" if the Republican National Committee were to choose Texas for the national event. DFW is the only metro area in Texas being cited as a possible host.
"Texas, of course, could do a fantastic job hosting the national event, and the national event does bring attention wherever it is held," Dickey says.
Potential sites in DFW include American Airlines Center and Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, both in Dallas; and Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.
The gathering undoubtedly would attract thousands of visitors to North Texas. Studies estimate the economic impact of the 2016 convention in Cleveland at either $144 million or $188 million.
"Texas is going to lead the way on opening [the economy] and hosting fantastic events, regardless of what happens with any single event," Dickey says.
Dallas hosted the 1984 Republican National Convention and put in a bid for 2016, but the GOP picked Cleveland instead.
NBC News reports that GOP officials already are scouting sites in DFW. The convention could wind up being held in several cities, lending a rally-style feel to the party’s every-four-years gathering, according to NBC News.
The Texas Tribune reports that DFW might end up being the place where President Trump delivers his speech accepting his party’s nomination for a second term. Related festivities would take place in North Texas, too. Some routine convention business still might be conducted in Charlotte, but more glamorous activities would happen in other cities.
No timetable has been set for picking alternate locations for the national convention, but since the event is next month, GOP officials are in hurry-up mode.
“I can say from experience that the sooner they’re able to make a decision, the better,” Dickey says.
Axios, a news website, lists key criteria for a host city including:
- A mayor and governor who want the event and will give the Republican National Committee flexibility on crowd sizes and other considerations. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, certainly wouldn’t object to Texas hosting the convention, although he hasn’t publicly campaigned for it. Various GOP officials in DFW also have signaled their interest.
- An adequate amount of hotel rooms and venue space. DFW checks those boxes.
- An ability to attract large crowds and donors. Given that Texas remains politically red, the Lone Star State alone could contribute heavily to the turnout.
Holding convention activities in Texas would be an especially savvy move now, as statewide polling shows a tightening of the race between Trump and his presumed Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
If DFW were to host at least part of the national convention, it would come on the heels of the state GOP’s convention, scheduled for July 16-18 in Houston.
Dickey says the state convention would be a "fantastic precursor" to a national gathering "that would demonstrate that Texans are fully capable of pulling off an event like this, even at a time like this."