November 28, 2014


Lorain County stands to benefit from Cleveland’s hosting of GOP convention

Lorain County will reap benefits that come with Cleveland’s selection to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, local political and tourism officials said Tuesday.

Helen Hurst, chairwoman of the Lorain County Republican Party, said she is excited by the prospect of the greater Cleveland area having a chance to display all it has to offer to people from across the nation, many of whom might have a negative view of the region.

“It’s an opportunity for Cleveland to show what it really is. It’s not what it was 30 years ago or 40 years ago when the river burned,” Hurst said. “It’s a beautiful city.”

Hurst also said she expects that some conventioneers — The Associated Press reported up to 45,000 party officials, delegates and journalists could descend on Cleveland — will spend time in Lorain County.

That will create an economic benefit not just to downtown Cleveland but also in more far-flung locations, she said.

Barb Bickel, executive director of Visit Lorain County, said the county’s roughly 1,800 lodging rooms were factored into the promised 17,000 rooms that are within 45 miles of Cleveland.

She said the county also offers outdoor and other activities that will be promoted, along with the county’s proximity to Cedar Point.

“We’re excited about the impact the convention may have on Lorain County and are looking forward to the positive impact it will bring to our region,” Bickel wrote in an email. “I would also expect our gas stations, restaurants and wineries to be impacted.”

A report prepared by the committee that hosted the Republicans in Tampa Bay in 2012 said the total direct and indirect economic impact of the convention there was about $404 million.

Even Democrats, who had been eying Cleveland as a possible site for their own 2016 convention, were excited by the prospect of hosting a national political convention.

“It’s fantastic for the city of Cleveland and indirectly it will be good for Lorain County, I suspect,” Lorain County Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Giardini said.

Both of Ohio’s U.S. senators, Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, and Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, said they were pleased with Cleveland’s selection.

Brown called it “another step forward in the city of Cleveland’s renaissance,” while Portman said in a conference call with reporters following the announcement that the convention was “an opportunity we don’t want to miss.”

Portman said that it’s been a long time since the Republicans have hosted a convention in Northeast Ohio. The Grand Old Party held conventions in Cleveland in 1924 and 1936. Democrats have never held their convention in Cleveland.

“This is an opportunity to showcase the rebirth of Cleveland as one of America’s great cities,” Portman said.

Lorain County Republican Party Vice Chairman David Arredondo said there is a political factor to Republicans picking Cleveland, which sits in a traditional battleground state.

“Ohio will be a swing state, there’s no question about it,” Arredondo said.

The convention will dominate news coverage in the state and that will mean exposing Republican ideals to voters, many of whom might not have otherwise paid much attention to the convention, he said. It could lead to more converts.

“It will help with exposure to the electorate,” he said.

Giardini said he isn’t certain that holding the convention in Cleveland will make much of a difference for Republicans in the 2016 election. He said while it will expose Republican positions to voters in largely Democratic Cleveland, those voters might not like the message they hear.

He also said Democrats and Republican opponents will be on hand to protest those positions, which means Ohio voters will get to hear the other side as well.

“I don’t think it’s going to help them or hurt them at the polls (in Ohio),” Giardini said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

  • Conservator440

    Can’t wait for the backlash. Cleveland will react much like Europe–they love American money but can’t stand American people. Liberal Cleveland politicians will be falling all over themselves to host the convention while doing all they can to defeat the Republican candidates. Could it be that the Democrats choose Cleveland as well? Such delicious irony………

    • golfingirl

      They, the Democrats, will find a way to convince uninformed voters they were responsible for bringing the convention to Cleveland.

  • oldruss

    Let’s hope that convention delegates, media, guests, etc., aren’t housed in most of the “economy” motels that surround Midway Mall. That would be embarrassing, as would the delegates wandering through a virtually empty Midway Mall.

    And, maybe some of the delegates and media will want to see the bar that Tracy Sprinkle, EHS/OSU football standout, was at, when he was arrested. Now won’t that be a treat for our out of town visitors – East 28th Street, Lorain!

  • SniperFire

    ‘Republican positions to voters in largely Democratic Cleveland, those voters might not like the message they hear.’

    Sadly, personal responsibility, self-reliance and self-respect doesn’t play well with the average freeloading Democrat voter.

  • Sis Delish

    The RNC may have found lodging for the Media Elite–Elyria/Lorain. That way, they can no longer ignore Obama’s trail of economic “success”… Maybe a 6-minute expose on the very chair Obama placed his behind on during a visit to Smitty’s with then dwarf leader, Grace. Then, wander on over to Lorain for a peek at the Housing Rebound. Ohio may not have legalized Weed by that time, but there is an abundance of them in the residential neighborhoods of a Democratic stronghold city to Elyria’s North…

  • Phil Blank

    Does Helen Hurst know that the Cuyahoga burned 5-times?
    I doubt these people will be heading to Cedar Point, they are too busy doing what they do when the hit town. Besides, they will want to Walleye fish without paying for out of state fishing licenses.

    • Spiraljoe

      Does Phil Blank know that river fires were common back in the day and it was hardly a problem isolated to Cleveland. Rivers burned in many cities, including Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia. But the Cuyahoga River fires were singled out by Time magazine as a poster child for environmental problems in 1969. Even then, they had to resort to using a fire photo from 17 years earlier – 1952.

  • golfingirl

    “Brown called it “another step forward in the city of Cleveland’s renaissance….”

    “It’s fantastic for the city of Cleveland and indirectly it will be good for Lorain County, I suspect,” Lorain County Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Giardini said.

    Leave it to the Republicans to bring significant revenue to Cleveland and Lorain, despite being Democrat strongholds.

    Oh wait, the Democrats brought the Gay Games to Cleveland, never mind.

  • golfingirl

    The opening session of the Republican National Convention should include a video, panning the landscapes of Lorain, Elyria, Youngstown, Lima and Cleveland.

    End it simply by stating this is the result of Democrat rule in these cities, and if there is not REAL CHANGE, the same will be coming to your town.

    Bottom line is the Democrats have failed in this region of the state, and to deny this and continue to ask for more of it, is economic suicide.

    Look around. If you are content with the conditions in Elyria, by all means keep the current administration in place. If not, maybe a change is due.

    Really can’t get any worse, can it?

  • Bill Love

    really they take this as a chance to cheap shot republicans instead of talking about how good this is for Cleveland. no wonder or country is in this mess they cant even agree on how good this for ohio

    • golfingirl




      The Democratic Party got “one-upped” on this one. Now scrambling to take some sort of credit for it.

      I am sure they will say Cleveland was the Republican’s choice because it was them, the Democrats, who created such a beautiful city that the Republicans could not resist!

  • golfingirl

    Avon may benefit some….a few decent hotels, the new Marriott going up by the Cleveland Clinic on Lear Road. Lots of places to eat, Crocker Park to shop at. But Avon already is doing quite well.

    But specifically what businesses in Lorain or Elyria are going to benefit from this?

    The Dollar Stores, Check Cashing Stores, the Super 8 Motel? Maybe if it was the Democratic Convention, but definitely not from a Republican Convention.

  • Joe

    The average voter see’s RNC and DNC as what they are. Dog and Pony shows. Neither of these parties do anything for the average American. Once you add up taxpayer money to pay for Police, Fire and Service to handle everything it’s not so great. Kinda like hosting the SuperBowl. The cost to tax payer is extravagant.