GOP bypasses Phoenix for 2012 convention

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PHOENIX -- Members of the committee that tried to bring the 2012 Republican nominating convention to Phoenix say losing the event stings.

Host committee member Gordon James says he's disappointed the effort to bring the convention to Phoenix wasn't successful.

He says Republican National Committee Site Selection Chairwoman Holly Hughes told him the decision had nothing to do with state's new law targeting illegal immigrants.

The committee chose Tampa, Fla., for the convention. Also losing out was Salt Lake City.

James says the convention could have brought as much as $250 million in business to Phoenix. He says he believes the committee was wowed by what Phoenix has to offer, but Tampa put together a better package because this was their third try for the convention.

Chairman of the Phoenix Host Committee and Valley businessman Bob Lavinia released the following statement regarding the decision:

"We are obviously disappointed with the committee's decision. The Valley of the Sun has a lot to offer large scale conferences such as the RNC Convention and I know the delegates would have had a great experience.

I know there will be some speculation on associating this decision with Arizona’s recent immigration bill. I think it's just that though -- pure speculation. What I can say is that we put together a great package for the committee and they have decided to go with Tampa. You can't win them all, but I have never been more proud of the effort put forth by the committee and we have nothing to hang our heads about.

I want to thank the host committee for all of the hard work that went into putting this bid together and thank the Site Selection Committee for the opportunity to show off our Valley of the Sun."

AZ GOP Chairman Randy Pullen's statement regarding 2012 RNC Convention:

"While we are disappointed that Phoenix was not selected as the location for the 2012 Republican National Convention, we extend our sincere congratulations to the city of Tampa Bay, Florida in being chosen as the site.

"From the start, Tampa Bay was the odds on favorite to be selected. This was their third bid for the convention and they put together the best package for the Republican National Committee. Combined with Florida being a key state for the Presidential election, it makes a lot of sense for Republicans to meet as we ramp up our effort to rescue Americans from another four years of President Obama's dangerous agenda.

"While many will point to Arizona's new immigration law as one of the reasons that Phoenix was not chosen, nothing could be further from the truth. Members of the RNC overwhelmingly support the immigration bill signed into law by Governor Brewer, and Republicans from coast-to-coast stand with Arizonans as we fight to secure our border."

Statement from Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon:

"All over Phoenix, people from both parties put in hundreds of hours prepping our bid for the Republican National Convention. I want to thank them for such tremendous work and congratulate them on getting us so very close to landing the RNC 2012.

"I hope we can continue to look past our political differences and keep collaborating like this. Now more than ever after the past few weeks, Arizona tourism and our economy need our best efforts. With any luck at all, the controversy over the immigration issue, which we've been told didn't factor into this decision, won't prevent us from landing the 2012 Democratic National Convention, or other events of similar size and impact."