GOP books hotel at Hard Rock casino for entire RNC week

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The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was never on the official list of hotels where Republican delegations would stay for their convention in August. But someone within the Grand Old Party has become quite a fan recently, reports Richard Mullins of the Tampa Tribune.

Casino executives confirm that someone within the Republican Party organization has made an unofficial reservation for not just a few rooms, but the entire 250-room hotel at the heart of the casino for Florida Republicans — for the entire week of the convention.

Exactly who made the reservation and who will stay at the hotel is something of a mystery among local GOP insiders, but speculation is that it’s being reserved for corporate high rollers, big donors or high-level GOP elected officials.

As is typical in the hotel industry, executives with the property declined to offer many specific details, citing guest privacy, but they did offer some broad outlines.

The reservation was only made recently, and remains somewhat unofficial, unlike the bulk of hotel reservations for the RNC week announced in May through the official RNC Committee on Arrangements.

That committee organized more than 15,000 hotel rooms at more than 100 properties for delegates and other party operatives at dozens of hotels in the wider Tampa Bay region, stretching from downtown Tampa to Clearwater to Palm Harbor. That list did not include the Seminole property.

James Davis, spokesman for the Committee on Arrangements, said they did not make the reservation at the Seminole, but said any other Republican group would be free to make their own accommodations.

The Tampa Bay Host Committee, the nonprofit local group involved in convention planning, also wasn’t involved in reserving the hotel, said Host Committee CEO Ken Jones.

Jones said the Host Committee negotiated with Hard Rock when it was lining up area hotels to provide convention accommodations, but that Hard Rock chose not to participate.

“From what I understand, it was just a business decision on their part,” he said.

Spokesmen for the national and state Republican parties and the Mitt Romney presidential campaign didn’t shed any light on who had reserved the hotel.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.