GOP Headed For NYC

The Republican Party has decided to hold its 2004 presidential nominating convention in New York City, the GOP announced Monday.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the decision "a tremendous boost for the city."

"New York is exactly the right place for the president and for the Republican Party," Bloomberg said. The convention will be held the week of Aug. 30.

Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida and New Orleans had been among the finalists along with New York. But New York had been considered a favorite for several months.

Democrats announced earlier they would hold their convention in Boston during the week of July 26.

New York Gov. George Pataki said, "The Republican National Committee's selection of New York City to host the Republican National Convention in 2004 is yet another sign of the confidence people have in New York and sends a message to America and the world that New York is back."

New York had plenty of advantages because of Bloomberg, who is a Republican, its many hotel rooms and the attention it got as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But GOP officials had logistical questions, such as how the city would house large numbers of media representatives who would be covering the event.

By holding its next convention in New York, Republicans also hope to give a boost to President Bush's expected re-election bid, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Knoller. Mr. Bush suffered a significant defeat in New York two years ago at the hands of Al Gore, who won the state with 60 percent of the vote to 35 percent for Mr. Bush. Since taking office, Mr. Bush has made 11 visits to New York, making it one of his most frequent destinations.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, had pushed hard for Florida to get the convention, but Republican officials also worried about possible protests in the state because of the contested 2000 presidential elections.

New Orleans had many advantages as a convention city, but Republicans lost a close and bitterly contested Senate runoff election a month ago when Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu held off a determined challenge from Republican Suzanne Terrell.

Marc Racicot, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Ellen Williams, chairwoman of Site Selection Committee made the announcement following a conference call Monday. The panel voted unanimously to recommend New York, pending the completion of a contract with the city.

If an agreement with city is reached, the 165 members of the Republican National Committee will vote on the committee recommendation at their winter meeting Jan. 29-Feb. 1.

"We believe New York will provide an outstanding backdrop to showcase our candidate and our party in 2004," according to a GOP release.