November 26, 2014

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Cleveland still in running to host GOP convention

This Friday, June 14, 2013 file photo shows the street entrance to the convention center in Cleveland. ASSOCIATED PRESS

This Friday, June 14, 2013 file photo shows the street entrance to the convention center in Cleveland. ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The odds of hosting the Republican Party’s next presidential convention have improved for Dallas, Denver, Cleveland and Kansas City, Missouri. Two other players, Las Vegas and Cincinnati, have folded.

The four remaining cities will be making in-city pitches to party officials looking for a host with ample meeting space, hotels and transportation to accommodate tens of thousands of visitors.

Another crucial requirement: deep pockets. The host city would have to pick up a tab as high as $60 million.

Dallas is seen as a leading contender, in part because of its coalition of wealthy donors, ties to the Bush family and an oil industry that could foot the bill. That city also has plenty of hotel and convention space to house the delegates and donors who flock to pep rally for the party faithful, along with the news media throng.

Dallas has also aggressively courted party officials. At a recent Republican National Committee meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, the Dallas organizers hosted a cocktail reception for delegates and offered them a chance to pose for pictures with Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.

Cleveland also could emerge as strong contender. Although northeast Ohio is a strongly Democratic area, it remains in a perennial hard-fought presidential state and has sought to convince RNC members that the city on Lake Erie is more than a former steel town that has fallen on hard times.

And Denver has experience; it hosted the Democrats’ 2008 convention that nominated President Barack Obama and has a modern airport.

RNC officials are focused on each city’s hotel and transportation plans following a 2012 Tampa convention in which many participants were forced into hotels an hour from the convention site or onto long bus rides. Many RNC members are still smarting from that experience and have vowed not to repeat the logistical nightmare.

The RNC said Cincinnati bid officials cited issues with its arena in pulling back its proposal.

Las Vegas’ decision to end its bid on Thursday came as something of a surprise.

The desert city hired a raft of political consultants to woo RNC members and constituencies and was seen as a favorite. But organizers said scheduling problems were insurmountable and withdrew the bid before the RNC voted Thursday to narrow the field. The RNC wanted to have its convention in June, when much of Las Vegas’ meeting and convention space was already booked.

One RNC official said party officials viewed other cities as more eager to cater to the convention and accommodate organizers’ demands. Las Vegas, with its constant stream of other conventions, was seen as less aggressive in courting the RNC, given organizers would have to pick up the price tag if successful, he said.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

Some party officials worried that its reputation for excess could overshadow the event. Others were concerned about the influence of Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. Among the world’s 10 richest people, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. has spent tens of millions of dollars to help Republican candidates and causes, and he fully backed efforts to bring the convention to his backyard.

But RNC officials worried that Adelson’s deep pockets could have proved a liability for a party looking to broaden its appeal. One RNC official directly involved in picking the city said the site selection committee was looking for a broader donor base — not one or two billionaires — to pick up the tab.

Almost immediately, the RNC and Las Vegas alike began to prepare for a 2020 convention in Sin City.

“While the committee understands their decision, both cities made a compelling case for 2016 and would make excellent hosts should they pursue efforts to host a future RNC convention,” said RNC Site Selection Committee Chairwoman Enid Mickelsen of Utah.

Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald said he was disappointed that the convention wasn’t coming to his state, “but I will get a convention somehow, some way.”


  • Sis Delish

    August in Cleveland for the RNC would be a sight to see… instead of the National Air Show at Burke, we could all just watch all the Corporate Aircraft come and go.

    And, the Theme could be: “From Kucinich to Kasich: Look How Far We’ve Come”!

    Couple that with another Year of Cleveland Browns Football about to begin with Johnny Football as the prospective Starter for 2015 Season, and I guarantee there will be TWO Blimps hovering over the town.

    • Otter

      All good points, except it’s June, not Aug.

      • Sis Delish

        Corrected I stand.. unusual though.

    • stop ur whining part deux

      Johnny isnt gonna start.

  • SniperFire

    Come to Cleveland. The inner-city dwellers must be convinced that communism is not the answer if America has any hope of surviving.

  • Chosen1

    Who are the TWO Blimps….You and sniperfire?

    • JHL27

      Sick trolls.

      • Sis Delish

        New Identity, Food Truck Vendor Wannabe?

        • Sis Delish

          Just one of many, you should see how they hate you on Cleveland.com

        • Sis Delish

          Sure must suck being a older fart with nothing to do but try to troll on a site that gets an average of 12 comments a day.

          • Sis Delish

            So, you change your name and profile.

            No longer a Food Truck Wannabe, now, your Profile suggests you are an “Assassin”. Brave Boy. Get Lost and take your pilfered identity with ya.

  • stop ur whining part deux

    regardless your political affiliation this would be great for Cleveland. Unfortunately money talks. Guessing Dallas will get the nod.

    • Phil Blank

      TV news lzst night said something, don’t remember exactly what, but they gave the impression its doubtful that Cleveland will get it.

      • stop ur whining part deux

        Of course not. Every four years it is Ohio this, Ohio that. We are an important swing state blah blah blah. Then after the election is over it is right back to not caring a bit.

  • TheRustyScupper

    I seriously doubt if Cleveland would/could be chosen.
    One picks a city in hopes of getting/converting votes.
    Cleveland has too many inner-city Dems, and a convention won’t change minds.
    A Cleve Convention would be a total waste of potential PR.