Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus announced July 8 that Cleveland was recommended by the GOP’s site selection committee to host the political party’s 2016 convention. The city last hosted a presidential convention in 1936.
“We’re excited about bringing the convention to Cleveland and Ohio,” Priebus said in an on-air broadcast. “It’s a smart decision.”
To be put up to a vote in August, the convention is set to begin either June 28 or July 28 of 2016 once negotiations with Cleveland representatives are finalized.
About the site selection committee’s charge to select a location, Chairwoman Enid Mickelsen mentioned that there were several strong candidates, including runner-up Dallas, which hosted the 1984 Republican convention.
“Cleveland is a phenomenal city, and I can’t think of a better place to showcase our party and our nominee in 2016,” stated. “I’m confident Cleveland is the right pick for our next national convention. Cleveland has demonstrated they have the commitment, energy, and terrific facilities to help us deliver a history-making Republican convention.”
Among businesses and civic and local leaders recognized for their efforts in the decision to recommend the Midwestern city, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, a Democrat, was credited for his initiating role by Rob Frost, chairman, Cuyahoga County Republican Party. Republican officials cite the city’s enthusiasm in addition to its convention facilities, flexibility and location near Lake Erie as determining factors.
During the past decade, city officials estimated $4.5 billion was spent in projects at Lake Erie, adding to its allure in the decision-making.
“I’ve got to tell you: if you haven’t been to Cleveland lately, it’s a real surprise how beautiful it is down by that lake,” Priebus admired.
At stake in deciding between Cleveland and Dallas was the funding necessary for the GOP’s 2016 presidential convention. While Dallas presented many donors, Cleveland secured early pledges totaling $25 million toward the expected expenditure of $60 million.
Also key in the decision was the timing of the convention due to both cities as home base for professional sports teams, and the possibility of basketball or hockey playoffs. Cleveland proposed Quicken Loans Arena, home to the NBA’s Cavaliers, available in time for a late June convention start. Dallas, on the other hand, offered the American Airlines Center in July out of consideration for the NBA’s Mavericks and NHL’s Stars.
Other bids eliminated earlier came from Denver; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri; Las Vegas and Phoenix.
As the official choice of the RNC GOP, Cleveland is expected to withdraw its bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, for which the cities of Birmingham, Ala.; Columbus, Ohio; New York City, Philadelphia and Phoenix will now likely vie.