“The event is two months away and we plan to offer health precautions, including but not limited to temperature testing, available P.P.E., aggressive disinfection protocols, and available Covid-19 tests,” the statement said.
Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to the announcement. But when he urged states to reopen their economies, he demonstrated the ability to adapt local regulations to his will. Officials in Tulsa, Okla., a curfew was lifted before the President’s rally Earlier this month, after Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he had discussed the curfew with the Mayor, a Republican.
Democrats say Republicans want to use the convention to support votes in northeast Florida.
“Jacksonville – Duval County – is a swing city in a swing state,” said state senator Audrey Gibson, the democratic majority leader who represents the city. “Duval County turned blue in the last election. So it’s pretty obvious what it’s about. “
In 2016, Mr. Trump won Duval County with only 5,968 votes, although Hillary Clinton never camped there. In 2018, the county voted for Governor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, although the surrounding suburbs remained deep red.
The broad television market in Jacksonville includes Republican suburbs like wealthy St. Johns County, which is home to St. Augustine – the kind of place where Democrats hope to win enough white college graduates to stay competitive in November. Former President Barack Obama won Florida twice in part by keeping the margin of votes in Duval County tight. (For the newcomers: “DOO-val” is pronounced.)
Jacksonville has not only dealt with viruses this year, but has also become a microcosm of how the nation has fared forced to face systemic racism in the course of George Floyd’s murder. African Americans make up almost a third of Jacksonville’s 912,000 residents, but have historically been excluded from local government power.
That Jacksonville – a city that is constantly overshadowed by Miami, Orlando, and Tampa and may never have held a convention under normal circumstances – gets its moment in the political spotlight as it grapples with the virus and increases unfulfilled promises to its African-American residents has engagements for local leaders. What amounts to a massive election rally for a divisive president can only lead to more contagion and unrest.