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State GOP Convention coming in 2020

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Mayor P.J. Connelly makes a speech during the annual Community Unity Breakfast inside of the Murphy Center at ECU on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018.

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The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The N.C. Republican Party announced that Greenville will host the party’s state convention in 2020, and it gave the credit to the city’s Republican mayor.

A news release issued by the party’s executive director via Twitter late Tuesday announced that Mayor P.J. Connelly landed a major event for the city.

“Greenville's Republican mayor, P.J. Connelly, has been working nonstop on his economic agenda since being elected in 2017, which is focused on partnering with local businesses to create more jobs and new opportunities,” the release said.

“Today, Mayor Connelly announced that the North Carolina Republican Party will be holding their critical 2020 presidential election-year convention in Greenville, an event which will bring thousands of people to experience the city.”

Connelly is a registered Republican, according to state records, but the Greenville mayor’s office is elected on a nonpartisan basis and party politics traditionally is not conspicuous in city government.

Connelly was criticized during his election campaign, however, for his support of Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

The three day state GOP convention will be held May 14-17, 2020, at the Greenville Convention Center, the release said. It will host up to 2,000 people from all 100 counties of North Carolina.

“The presidential year convention serves as the official kick-off for the 2020 election, and will feature all of the party's candidates for statewide office including the nominees for U.S. Senate and governor,” the release said. “The convention will also spotlight the successes of the first term of President Trump and Vice-President Pence, both of whom will be invited to address the convention. Several of North Carolina's delegates to national convention will also be selected at the 2020 state convention.”

"This is an excellent opportunity to show people all across America what Greenville has to offer," Connelly said in the release. "As we continue to work with a range of employers to bring new jobs to our community, hosting the state convention sends a clear message that Greenville is open for business."

"We are excited to bring this major event to Greenville," NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in the release. "Mayor Connelly was relentless in his efforts to get us there. He was excellent at showcasing the area's rich history, growing economy, and all that ECU has to offer. We look forward to working with him to make this event a success."

As a critical swing state, North Carolina's 2020 state convention is sure to attract major political figures and media from across the country. Last year's NCGOP convention featured Lara Trump and Presidential Adviser Kellyanne Conway. President Trump has spoken at two previous conventions, including a key appearance at the 2015 convention as he began preparing his successful run for the presidency.

The North Carolina Republican Party selected Greenville after an intense lobbying and recruitment effort by Connelly, the release said. Connelly highlighted the recent renovations and expansion of the Greenville Convention Center, the close proximity to hotels, and the availability of large capacity venues at East Carolina University.

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