Barring an unforeseen circumstance, San Diego will be named today as one of two finalists in the competition for hosting the 1992 GOP Convention, a highly placed source in the Republican Party said Thursday.
The Site Selection Committee is expected to emerge from its meeting in Washington and name San Diego and Houston as finalists, sources said.
“Ultimately, we think San Diego will be selected as the site,” said Tess Dennis, assistant to Frank Visco, chairman of the California Republican Party. “Frank is very much in favor of San Diego and will, of course, be supporting San Diego when the full committee makes its decision early next year.”
Other sources in the party said Thursday that Houston’s chances improved in recent weeks but ebbed in recent days, with party officials being told that the Houston Astros baseball team could not adjust its schedule to permit the time needed to ready the Houston Astrodome.
Houston’s chances also are complicated, sources said, by the gubernatorial victory in Texas of Democrat Ann Richards over GOP challenger Clayton Williams.
New Orleans’ chances have dimmed, sources said, because of former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, now a state representative, who may seek the governorship of Louisiana, posing a potential embarrassment to the GOP.
Several GOP sources interviewed Thursday, most of whom asked not to be identified, said San Diego has three “detriments.” Otherwise the city, in the words of one delegate, would be “a lock”:
* The new San Diego Convention Center is considered too small by GOP standards, and its sight lines, both for television viewers and in-house delegates, pose serious aesthetic problems.
* San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium may serve as the site for President Bush’s renomination acceptance speech, but he could be making his televised address around sundown, causing him to squint into cameras. Because no portion of any Republican Convention has ever been held outdoors, the use of the stadium is a concern.
* Unlike other cities, which have offered public subsidies, San Diego’s $10-million funding pledge will come entirely from private sources. Coming up with the money isn’t the problem, sources say; it’s the fact that money otherwise earmarked for GOP congressional races will now be going to a convention.
Despite some reports, other cities--namely, St. Petersburg, Fla.--are not out of the running for one of the finalist slots, alongside San Diego. But Cleveland is considered, at this time, a long shot, sources said.
“San Diego’s strengths are that it’s a beautiful city with the hotels and restaurants necessary for hosting a convention of this size,” a ranking member of the Republican National Committee said Thursday. “Some delegates are tired of going to the Kansas Citys and Detroits and would welcome a San Diego.”
The full Republican National Committee is scheduled to pick one of the two finalists at its meeting in January.