TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida is hoping to swoop in as a host of conventions for both major parties as the novel coronavirus derails plans for the Democrats in Wisconsin and the Republicans in North Carolina.
It started this weekend when President Trump said on Twitter that he is growing frustrated with the Democratic governor of North Carolina, who has not said whether it will be possible to host the Republican convention in Charlotte without considerable measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Vice President Mike Pence got specific with which states could be considered, including Florida, Texas and Georgia.
Gov. Roy Cooper says he is working with health officials to determine the best way forward after the president tweeted delegates who are planning to head to Charlotte, "must be immediately given an answer by the governor as to whether the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find another convention site."
On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) said hosting a convention would bring an economic boost and that options could include Tampa, Miami, Orlando, or Jacksonville.
"Heck, I am a Republican," he said. "It would be good for us to have the DNC, in terms of the economic impact."
The head of the Republican Party of Florida, Joe Gruters insists it would be possible to bring the convention to the sunshine state at the last minute.
"It all comes down to local cooperation," he said. "That is what we are gauging right now. Where can we go where we can pull something like this off? The RNC doesn't want to move out of Charlotte, but they may be forced to."
Tampa Bay hosted the Republican convention in 2012 and while it was successful, it brought numerous logistical challenges, even without a pandemic.
"Putting on an event of this size and scale takes months and months of preparation," said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. "I don't see how, realistically, that could even happen. I think it is a non-issue."
The office of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor took an even more stark tone, saying, "It would be irresponsible to try to hold an event of that size right now."
The Democratic Party has made plans to allow its delegates to participate in the convention -- which is to be held in Wisconsin -- virtually.
Likely nominee Joe Biden says the event could not be held with business as usual.
"We may end up having less people than we would have otherwise had in a non-pandemic moment," said Democratic Party chair Tom Perez. "But we're going to make sure that it's exciting, however it is."
Gruters said it is in the interest of both parties to show they can pull off a well-coordinated event in the midst of a pandemic, because of the signal it sends to voters.
"This is a way for us to showcase our nominee to the American people," he said. "It is very important for both sides, Republicans and Democrats, to have these conventions."