Fielding four Florida-based candidates in the GOP primary and 29 valuable Electoral College votes, the Sunshine State is poised to be ground zero in the 2016 presidential race. Leveraging its place in national politics, the Republican Party of Florida is planning the “Sunshine Summit” for October 23 and 24 in Orlando.
In a memo obtained by Florida Politics, RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia welcomes all Republican candidates to the race and invites them to join the Summit — an event expected to draw more than 2,500 activists and donors wanting to hear from the field of presidential hopefuls.
“I know that our party will be in a strong position to take back the White House with whoever wins our party’s nomination,” Ingoglia writes.
The agenda for the event on Friday at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort includes the RPOF’s Quarterly Meeting, a speaker series featuring candidates, and breakout receptions.
On Saturday, Summit highlights are expected to include speeches and receptions with both candidates and GOP leaders. That evening there will be a debate among GOP candidates for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat.
Unlike earlier events, the Summit will not include a televised presidential debate or a straw poll.
“We felt it makes more sense to call the event a summit to make it more in-line with people’s expectations,” Ingoglia explains.
Tickets to the event are on a first-come-first-served basis, with 50 more tickets reserved for each campaign for supporters before general admission tickets go on sale.
Each presidential candidate will have 20 minutes to talk during the speaker series, and time and space assigned by the RPOF on a first-come, first-served basis. Each campaign can also host a one-hour “reception-style event” either Friday evening or Saturday morning.
Ingoglia added that he expects the speeches to be carried live by C-SPAN and covered by invited national and local press, including outlets in all of Florida’s 10 media markets.
“We are expecting a high number of media impressions from print, broadcast, and online publications,” he said, reminding those interested that the event will take place about 120 days before the state’s winner-take-all primary.
As part of the attraction for the Summit, Ingoglia outlined several impressive media coverage goals: more than 10 million media impressions in Florida and nationwide; 3.8 million media impressions with a broadcast reach in nine of 10 Florida media markets; 5.7 million impressions in print media through more than 200 press credentials and 10 satellite trucks.
As for who will ultimately attend the Summit, campaigns are requested to RSVP by noon July 31 with RPOF Executive Director Brad Herold at BHerold@florida.gop.