RNC officials to meet in Phoenix amid search for new convention site

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Republican National Committee officials will meet in Phoenix, Ariz., on Tuesday as their latest stop in a nationwide search for a new site to hold at least part of this summer’s GOP convention, Fox News has learned.

An RNC source told Fox News that party officials will meet with local elected officials and representatives from Arizona’s hotel, tourism and venue industries to scout locations and discuss the possibility of Arizona hosting part of the convention’s celebrations.

RNC officials toured Nashville, Tenn., and Savannah, Ga., over the last several days to consider potential new locations for the Republican National Convention, which is set to take place from Aug. 24-27.

RNC BROADENS SEARCH FOR CITY TO HOST CONVENTION CELEBRATIONS

The locations that RNC officials have been weighing would host the “celebrations” segment of the convention—which would include President Trump’s nomination speech, a balloon drop and more celebratory events typically associated with the convention, the source told Fox News.

The RNC has been moving toward holding the official business of its quadrennial presidential nominating convention in the original host city of Charlotte, North Carolina – and the main celebrations in another city.

The list of cities in contention has grown to include Phoenix, Nashville, Savannah, as well as Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa in Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; Las Vegas, Nev.; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

But, RNC officials stressed that the mechanics of the convention will still be held in Charlotte, which the party selected two years ago as the site of the 2020 convention.

TRUMP STRESSES GOP 'FORCED' TO SEE NEW CONVENTION LOCATION

The party is contractually obligated to conduct some of its convention business in Charlotte. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in an interview Thursday with Gray Television that “we are not dropping Charlotte as the convention site.”

President Trump tweeted last week that the GOP was “now forced to seek another” location other than Charlotte to host the convention. The president’s announcement came after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said GOP leaders needed to provide plans for a scaled-down event due to coronavirus pandemic health concerns. The party pressed for a full convention, which Cooper essentially said the state could not accommodate.

The RNC repeatedly urged Cooper to commit to allowing as many as 19,000 people in Charlotte’s Spectrum Center, but Cooper said it’s unlikely that virus trends would allow a full-capacity nominating convention.

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“Gov. Cooper is not going to allow a large scale event,” the RNC source told Fox News, noting that even the business portion of the convention likely would require a space for more than 10,000 people—delegates, alternates, pages, and RNC staff and support staff.

When asked which location the RNC hoped to hold the celebration component of the event, the source said: “The president will ultimately make the decision.”

Fox News' Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.