The 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa was a straight-up mess from a traffic standpoint (and a Clint Eastwood standpoint, and a Mitt Romney standpoint…) and the hotel and buses situation wasn’t ideal for GOP operatives and the thousands of others who descend on a convention city. As of today, there’s eight finalists to host 2016: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix. A decision on 2-3 finalists should be made this spring, and the selection will be made early-to-mid summer, then vetted by the RNC. Five of the eight preliminary finalists were cities who pitched the RNC hard this winter, but two cities thought to have a shot — Charlotte and Salt Lake City — were left out. (I’d assume Charlotte got the boot because of hosting the 2012 Democratic Convention.)
Las Vegas is widely viewed as the front-runner because of hotel infrastructure — no one does that better in America, save possibly Orlando — but Dallas, who was a late bid, could be a surprise winner. While some people think Texas is turning politically purple, in reality that’s a “long play.” In the summer of 2016, it would be quite red — that’s a strong base in which to hold it, and they come close to Vegas on the hotel side:
Vegas boosters are counting on that city’s unmatched tourism infrastructure. Only Dallas comes close, with far fewer hotel rooms but enough to hold every delegate within 3 miles of the American Airlines Center. That’s a huge issue for Republicans, with memories of 2012 fiascos in Tampa, Fla., still fresh.
The Cleveland/Cincinnati arguments likely boil down to “Ohio is a swing state,” but again, I’m not sure those states have enough infrastructure and public transportation, etc. to be a competitive bid. Kansas City’s going for the midwestern charm of “all roads lead to here.” They also made a video.
Denver is banking on the fact that it successfully hosted a convention recently — 2008 Democratic — and even had the flexibility to shift Obama’s speech to a football stadium for the final night. Phoenix’s angle? The GOP needs a re-brand, and “Phoenix” is “rising.”
In the end, though, it’s likely Vegas will win out. Their lieutenant governor may have summed up the whole thing best:
“Logistically, there really is no other city that can compare to Las Vegas,” Krolicki said.
Krolicki stressed another advantage: Demographics.
“Demographically, 30 percent of the vote (in Nevada) is Latino,” Krolicki said, noting the GOP is striving to make inroads with Latino voters.
“We also have a fast-growing Asian population,” he said. “The West Coast time zone is an advantage from a television standpoint.”
Ah, that third paragraph? Game, set and match.