The Republican Party is taking its convention to Cleveland.
After a five-month selection process, the Republican National Committee on Tuesday selected the Ohio city as the host for its 2016 convention. The announcement by the party's site selection committee all-but-assures that the city will host the convention, with the party now opening negotiations with the city before the the full 168-member RNC votes to finalize the selection next month when it meets in Chicago.
The city once dubbed the "Mistake by the Lake" will host the thousands of delegates, alternates, party officials, and journalist when the GOP formally selects its next presidential and vice presidential nominee two years from now at the Quicken Loans Arena. The city has undergone a downtown revival over the past two decades around the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it's still plagued by declining population, foreclosed homes and poverty.
The relatively temperate Cleveland beat out Dallas in the final selection round, due to concerns about Texas summer heat, the state party's recent rightward shift, and the presence of the Bush family. The 2012 convention in Tampa was marred by financial difficulties, oppressive humidity, and a hurricane threat that forced the cancellation of the first night's program, muddling the party's carefully-scripted message throughout the convention.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has set his sights on moving the convention earlier in the year, shortening the primary and caucus process and freeing up general election funding for candidates sooner. The move, a response to the drawn-out 2012 primary fight that marred Mitt Romney's political standing before the convention, has the party eyeing two potential dates: the weeks of June 27 or July 18. The final dates will be announced when the RNC gathers next month.
"As goes Ohio, so goes the presidential race," Priebus said Tuesday on Fox News.
Concerns had been raised over Dallas' ability to hold the convention on the earlier date because of the chances its basketball team will make the NBA finals. Both cities had been able to demonstrate to the committee that they could fund the estimated $68 million price tag for the convention. Cleveland had more than $30 million on hand, while Dallas claimed more than $50 million in commitments.
Cleveland, located in the political heart of Democratic Ohio, has hosted the Republican National Convention twice before, in 1936 when the party nominated Kansas Gov. Alf Landon and in 1924 when it nominated President Calvin Coolidge. Democrats are considering hosting their convention in Birmingham, Cleveland, Columbus, New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix, with a decision expected early next year. Cleveland will likely be cut from contention now that it has been selected by Republicans.
The other cities initially considered by the GOP for the convention were Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Tuesday's announcement comes four years to the day after basketball star Lebron James announced he was leaving Cleveland for Miami.
What 2016 Will Look Like For Republicans:
First week of February: Iowa Caucuses
Second week of February: New Hampshire Primary
Mid- to Late- February: South Carolina Primary followed by Nevada Caucuses
March 1: States other than Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada begin to hold nominating contests with proportional delegate allocation; states can set a threshold as high as 20 percent for obtaining delegates.
March 16: States may begin holding winner-take-all contests.
May 17: Earliest cut-off for primaries and caucuses. Forty-five days before first potential convention date. States that don’t have Republicans controlling the scheduling of their primaries and caucuses will be granted automatic waivers from the cut-off requirement.
June 28: First start date under consideration for the Republican National Convention.
July 18: Second start date under consideration for the Republican National Convention.