iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — There are eight cities vying to be the home of the 2016 GOP convention: Las Vegas; Denver; Dallas; Kansas City, Mo.; and three cities in Ohio: Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. The cities are currently presenting to the Republican National Committee — although snow prevented all the cities from making it to D.C. on Monday. The GOP will choose the winner from this group. The convention is where the Republican Party will officially nominate their presidential and vice presidential candidates, and this cycle they will hold their convention earlier than ever to prevent a “slice-and-dice festival,” as RNC Chairman Reince Priebus calls it.
Here are a few reasons why Las Vegas is an early front-runner:
1. Vegas is Not Only Sin City, But Convention City
Las Vegas has never held a major party convention before, but the city itself could not be more equipped to handle a conference of this magnitude, and they have large conferences year-round.
The city’s bid video points out: “Las Vegas is ready. This is what we do.”
At a news conference Monday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus pointed out that the logistics of putting on a convention is at the top of the list when it comes to making a decision, ahead of whether that state is “winnable” or not.
“When I think about these things I really first think about, number one, the financial goals that need to happen in a particular city; number two, an issue that is becoming more and more an issue for us, especially with security and the Secret Service now and things are getting far more dangerous is transportation, hotel space, how long it takes to get to and from a particular location,” Priebus said. “The delegate experience somewhere in there, but I would say somewhere after that I would worry about whether being there helps our chances of winning that particular state.”
Vegas’ bid boasts they can put all the attendees from the 2012 RNC in Tampa “within a one-mile radius,” which would mean almost everyone could walk to where they needed to go and there wouldn’t be the reliance on buses and different modes of transportation as in past convention sites.
Their bid also notes they are the “number-one convention destination in North America,” and last year had “21,000 conventions” with “5 million attendees” as well as 150,000 hotel rooms and 15 of the 20 of the world’s largest hotels.
“This always needed to be a business decision because what you are trying to do is create a stable platform for our nominee to be able to be the story and so to the extent you have people sitting on buses for three hours and they are unhappy or the media workspace the electricity goes out and you are all unhappy that becomes the story so we are trying to create the most stable and convenient platform for our nominee to be able to present him or herself to the public,” said Enid Mickelson, the chairwoman of the site selection committee.
2. Swing State Nevada
Although Priebus listed the politics of the pick down on his list, it’s still on the list, and despite President Barack Obama winning the state in 2008 and 2012, George W. Bush won the state the two previous cycles. Nevada is still a critical swing state with six important electoral votes currently led by Republican rising star Gov. Brian Sandoval.
The RNC has also stresses reaching out to minorities is a priority and, as the Vegas bid notes, they have a 30-percent Hispanic population and the “fastest-growing Asian population in North America.”
A Vegas pick could also allow the usual jabs at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but this time on his home turf.
3. Show Me the Money or Sheldon
The biggest concern for any major party convention is how to pay for it. A bash that big isn’t cheap and having effective fundraisers or a network of donors is a top priority.
In 2012, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam were one of the largest donors to the Republican effort, and Priebus said Monday the most important factor of any city were the financials, saying the key to winning the bid is “number one: securing the dollars.”
Las Vegas is Adelson’s town. The billionaire chief executive of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation has already backed the bid’s effort, and having the GOP’s biggest bash in his backyard likely means not just public support, but financial help as well.
4. The Glitz
The Las Vegas bid committee is well organized and they came to play and woo at January’s RNC winter meeting, enticing GOP officials with two plush lounges at the downtown Washington hotel where Republicans gathered, offering complimentary wine, plates of light appetizers and free Wi-Fi. Their well-produced video doesn’t hurt either.
“Everybody knows Vegas can throw a party,” Mike Slanker, a spokesman for Las Vegas 2016 host committee, told ABC News in January. “We have a great story to tell. We can offer a product, logistically, that no one can match.”
Of course, Priebus said Monday that the glitz of some bids over others doesn’t make a difference.
“I just look at what they can do financially, what are they going to do with the facility, the hotel, what we envision as a potential environment for our eventual nominee to get a bump out of the week, that’s what I look at, but I assure you when we are in a closed room…the groups are coming enthusiastic and fired up and they want their cities picked,” he said.
5. Turn Up the Heat
Another advantage to Vegas: the weather. Yes, it will be hot, but when Hurricane Isaac cut short the Republicans’ national convention by one day in Tampa in 2012, just less than 48 hours before the RNC was to begin, that became the story. The storm forced convention planners to scrap one day of scheduled activities and could have shut the whole thing down.
That’s one advantage to Vegas, although delegates may be sweating they won’t have to worry about hurricanes, tornadoes or other natural disasters possibly disrupting the entire
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