Cleve­land picked to host 2016 GOP con­ven­tion

Swing state key in re­cent pres­i­den­tial elec­tions

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY RALPH Z. HAL­LOW

Cleve­land has been cho­sen to host the 2016 GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nat­ing con­ven­tion, beat­ing out Dal­las in a unan­i­mous vote from the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee site se­lec­tion panel Tues­day.

The choice would be ideal for the GOP na­tional lead­er­ship, putting the event in the swing state of Ohio, which has been crit­i­cal to the Elec­toral Col­lege hopes of both par­ties in re­cent pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

The site se­lec­tion com­mit­tee rec­om­mended two dates for the con­ven­tion, ei­ther June 27 or July 18. A fi­nal date is to be picked be­fore the RNC meets for its an­nual meet­ing in Au­gust, the sources said. RNC chair­man Reince Priebus has been push­ing for a date in June.

That would put the con­ven­tion two months ahead of pre­vi­ous con­ven­tions, giv­ing the GOP nom­i­nee more time and money to fight off the at­tacks of Democrats.

Pre­vi­ously, Kansas City had been the only site that could host in June that also wasn’t un­en­cum­bered by sports teams’ con­flicts of sched­ule. But Kansas City’s bid was hurt by a short­age of ho­tel rooms for the tens of thou­sands of del­e­gates, of­fi­cials and press ex­pected to at­tend the na­tional con­ven­tion.

Dal­las had been the last com­peti­tor to Cleve­land but hadn’t been able to come up with the $50 mil­lion re­quired for con­sid­er­a­tion. Cleve­land was said to be “way ahead [in] fi­nan­cial pledges to­ward that $50 mil­lion.

Cleve­land is also a fi­nal­ist to host the Demo­cratic con­ven­tion, with party lead­ers also still weigh­ing five other bids. The fact that the city will host the GOP gath­er­ing makes it highly un­likely it will also get the Demo­cratic con­ven­tion.

Or­ga­niz­ers say the se­lec­tion could be an eco­nomic coup for Cleve­land.

In a post-con­ven­tion re­port, or­ga­niz­ers of Tampa, Florida’s 2012 GOP con­ven­tion said its $58 mil­lion in fundrais­ing re­sulted in a $214 mil­lion di­rect eco­nomic im­pact. Some 50,000 ac­tivists, of­fi­cials and re­porters de­scended on the area for the con­ven­tion, of­fi­cials said.

It also could be a boost for Cleve­land’s im­age, which suf­fered from eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal strug­gles in the 1970s but re­bounded with an ur­ban re­vival cen­tered in part on the open­ing of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“It pro­vides us with an op­por­tu­nity to show­case not only a great city but a great state and a great mes­sage,” Ohio GOP chair­man Matt Borges told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Gone are the days when Cleve­land’s pol­luted Cuya­hoga River caught fire. The city, once dubbed “The Mis­take by the Lake,” has un­der­gone dra­matic re­de­vel­op­ment in re­cent years — $4.5 bil­lion in projects have been com­pleted in the past decade or are about to be­gin con­struc­tion.

The se­lec­tion could also pro­vide a small boost to Ohio Gov. John R. Ka­sich, con­sid­ered a dark horse pos­si­bil­ity for the 2016 GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

DNC Chair Deb­bie Wasserman Schultz is ex­pected to an­nounce a host city ei­ther late this year or early in 2015.

Cleve­land last hosted the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion in 1936. Kansas Gov. Alf Lan­don, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee that year, lost the state by 21 points. Cleve­land also hosted the 1924 GOP con­ven­tion, renom­i­nat­ing Pres­i­dent Calvin Coolidge, and Repub­li­cans car­ried the state by 35 points.

This ar­ti­cle was based in part on wire ser­vice re­ports.

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