How the Republican Convention Created Money Woes in Two Cities

“You see the convention go to another state and you know they’re going to reap the benefits, and we desperately needed that,” said Elaine Wordsworth, whose husband, Steve Wordsworth, is a North Carolina businessman who has donated generously to Mr. Trump’s re-election fund.

Indeed, when Jacksonville was selected as the host city for the convention in June, the news was seen by leaders there as a huge financial shot in the arm for a second-tier city that would never have been considered for such a role under normal circumstances. The average economic impact of hosting a convention for the local economy is about $200 million, and officials in Jacksonville initially estimated that even a hurried version of the Republican event would bring in at least half of that.

But now, many of the people involved in the process in Jacksonville are beginning to feel like the dog that caught the car. About 58 percent of registered voters in Duval County, which encompasses Jacksonville, say they are opposed to the city hosting the mass gathering, according to a new poll from the University of Florida, which also showed that 71 percent of voters said they were at least somewhat concerned about transmission of coronavirus.

For Republican officials, untangling the financial knot from the Charlotte convention remains a work in progress. Given the contracts that had been signed and the many parties around the table — including the local host committee, the R.N.C. and the city itself, among others — concerns about potential legal action have figured into managing the fallout, several people connected to the process said.

Patrick Baker, Charlotte’s city attorney, said in an interview that the city itself had spent roughly $14 million preparing for the convention. Much of that went toward insurance and security costs, he said, and the city expected to be reimbursed in full through a federal grant from the Justice Department.

“The focus of the City Council has been to make sure, at a minimum, that we’re made whole and not left holding the bag,” Mr. Baker said.

The Charlotte program has been scaled back to the bare minimum. Only the 168 national committeemen are expected to visit Charlotte. While there, they will attend meetings at one hotel and then take a bus together to the airport, where they will board a chartered plane and fly to Jacksonville for the remainder of the convention, according to someone briefed on the plans.

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