Republican Convention

Watch the livestream of the convention proceedings below

The 2012 Republican National Convention will be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum from August 27-30, 2012, and will host 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories. The convention will also include approximately 15,000 credentialed media—an international press corps second only in size to this summer’s London Olympic Games—as well as a global audience that will witness a “convention without walls” thanks to our Internet and social media efforts.


About the 2012 Republican National Convention

Georgia National Committeeman Alec Poitevint serves as COA chairman. Wyoming National Committeewoman Jan Larimer and Wisconsin National Committeewoman Mary Buestrin serve as co-chairmen.

Convention leadership veteran William D. Harris serves as convention CEO—the same position he held in 2004. Harris was the convention director for the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008. Michael V. Miller, a veteran of 13 conventions, serves as convention COO.

Nearly 150 staffers will eventually live, dine and shop in the Tampa Bay area in preparation for the 2012 Republican National Convention. And roughly 50,000 people are expected to visit the Tampa Bay area during the gathering.

2012 will mark the third time the Republican Party convenes its convention in Florida. The Sunshine State also played host to the 1968 and 1972 Republican National Conventions that nominated Richard M. Nixon. Both were held in Miami Beach.

Presidential Nominating Conventions

Our republic only holds one national election in which we all share the responsibility of participating. Part of that shared responsibility involves educating ourselves about the positions of the presidential candidates and the parties they represent.

While the pre-convention primary campaign educates us to a certain extent, the party conventions “kick off” the head-to-head campaign that will decide the future of our nation.

To quote journalist Jim Lehrer, “The political conventions are among the few ‘shared’ national political events left.”

The basis of the national political convention was to open the process of nominating presidential candidates to the American people, rather than have the selection determined by the congressional caucuses. And, while the conventions have evolved into the modern broadcast and Internet-streamed events they are today, the modern-day national political convention still holds true to the idea of opening the process to the American people.

According to “Presidential Elections in the United States: A Primer,” prepared in April 2000 by the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, “National conventions combine three important functions: nomination of candidates for the office of President and Vice President; formulation and adoption of a statement of party principles—the platform; and adoption of rules and procedures governing party activities, particularly the nomination process for presidential candidates in the next election cycle.”

The Convention Process

(Excerpt from “Presidential Elections in the United States: A Primer,” Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, April 17, 2000, pages 20-23.)

The “Call”: The official “call” to the convention, customarily issued by the national committees of the two major parties some 18 months in advance, announces the dates and site of the national convention. The call also includes information on delegate allocation and rules for deciding disputed delegate credentials.

Timing and Location of National Conventions: During the 20th century, national party conventions have come to be held during the summer immediately preceding the opening of the general election campaign for president.

In the 19th century, difficulties of travel led to the selection of centrally located cities as convention sites. Baltimore, located midway along the Atlantic seaboard, was a favorite choice in early years. As the center of population moved west, Chicago and other Midwestern cities were more frequently selected. With the advent of air travel and further population growth in the west, south, and southwest, a broader range of locations has been considered. Chicago has been host to the greatest number of conventions (11 Democratic and 14 Republican).

Site Selection: Selection of sites for national party conventions is a lengthy process in which facilities, security arrangements, and level of assistance offered by local governments are all considered by a special committee of the parties’ national committees. An incumbent president’s choice of location may also be an important factor in his party’s decision. State and local governments actively seek conventions due to the economic benefits conferred by the presence of large numbers of delegates, party officials and media representatives, as well as the presumably favorable national publicity generated by a national convention.

Convention Organization

(Excerpt from “Presidential Elections in the United States: A Primer,” Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, April 17, 2000, page 24.)

Permanent Chair. Although conventions of both parties are opened by a temporary presiding officer, election of a permanent chair is usually one of the first points in the order of business. The Permanent Chair, who presides for the balance of the convention, is usually a senior party figure, most often the party leader in the House of Representatives.

Convention Committees. Committees of the national conventions prepare reports for the conventions on delegate credentials, rules of procedure and party platforms. The full convention ratifies or amends the respective recommendations from each of these committees.

Permanent Organization. The Permanent Organization Committee, which functions continuously between conventions, has as its primary role the selection of convention officers.

Credentials. The Credentials Committees of both parties examine and rule on the accreditation of state delegations to the conventions.

Rules. The Rules Committees of the two parties recommend procedures under which the national conventions are conducted.

Platform. The task of drafting the platforms of the two major parties is the responsibility of the Platform Committees, which draft the document for the conventions’ approval.

What Happens at a Convention?

Convention History


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