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RNC Decides On Attendance For Charlotte Convention, And It's Only 336 Delegates

Jennifer Lang

The RNC's executive committee voted on Wednesday night to keep official convention business in Charlotte - but it sharply limited the number of delegates attending to 336, according to an RNC official.

The unanimous vote gives each state and territory only six delegates to attend in-person in Charlotte. The 2016 RNC in Cleveland had more than 2,400 delegates.

Earlier on Wednesday, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told talk radio host Hugh Hewitt that Jacksonville, Florida is the frontrunner to have the celebratory parts of the convention, which includes President Trump's acceptance speech.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron Desantis and Jacksonville Republican Mayor Lenny Curry have courted bringing the convention to northeast Florida.

Trump said he wanted to move the convention after N.C. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper refused to guarantee the GOP the ability to have 19,000 people inside the Spectrum Center, with no masks and no social distancing.

The executive committee also voted that all delegates can officially vote for president and vice president, even if they aren't in Charlotte. It's likely that vote would be virtual.

In addition, officials voted to make the 2016 party platform approved in Cleveland as the GOP's platform until 2020. No changes to the platform are permitted. 

The GOP's decision to limit delegates means there will likely only be a fraction of the 50,000 people in the city as originally touted. 

There will likely be some other officials in the city, as well as media. But it's possible the entire convention could fit in one or two hotels.

In addition to not being able to have a full arena, the GOP said Cooper's limits on the size of gatherings was another hurdle. Under Phase 2 of re-opening, there can only be 10 people indoors at a time. That limit is expected to last until at least June 26 - less than two months before the Aug. 24 convention.

With the convention only a fraction of the size as originally planned, it's unclear what will happen to the city's $14 million investment in security equipment for the convention. The city has a contract with the Department of Justice to be reimbursed.

The local host committee, which has been tasked with raising $70 million, has already raised $50 million for a Charlotte convention. 

Will that money go to the RNC in Jacksonville? Or will donors be able to get their money back?

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.