Get ready to hit those strip malls, party people: The 2012 Republican convention is going to Tampa, Fla. GOP leaders opted not to drop the balloons in Arizona, perhaps because of that state’s racist immigration law that essentially flips the bird at the nation’s fastest-growing bloc of voters.

If they get bored of chanting pro-oil slogans or challenging the patriotism of the other party, conventioneers can check out some of the local excitement:

So why Florida (besides the hands-on aquariums, of course)? The red-state-that-occasionally-swings-blue looks more and more important to President Barack Obama’s hopes of winning re-election. Of course, all that could change in the next two years, and it probably will. — PZS

AP via Yahoo:

A Republican National Committee panel recommended the Gulf Coast city during a closed-door meeting, rejecting Salt Lake City and Phoenix. The decision came amid calls from Hispanic groups and others to boycott Arizona after it adopted a law to crack down on illegal immigrants.

Florida, with its hefty 27 electoral votes, decided the 2000 election for George W. Bush. Obama won the state in 2008.

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