How the RNC will decide what city will hold 2016 convention

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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When it comes to picking the location of the 2016 GOP convention, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says it is all about creating a “bump.”

“We have to make sure that we put on a convention that gives our nominee a bump,” Priebus told reporters Monday. “That to me is the No. 1 purpose of having a convention.”

Eight cities — including three from the crucial swing state of Ohio — are vying to host where the GOP will crown its 2016 nominee: Las Vegas, Columbus, Kansas City, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

On Monday, Priebus laid out what he considers the most important criteria for the RNC’s site-selection committee: money, transportation, hotels and delegate experience.

“To me, it’s a business decision,” Priebus said.

The chairman dismissed the thinking that choosing a city helps the party win that state in November. Not since 1992 — when the GOP convention was held in Texas — have Republicans gone on to win the state where they held their convention.

In 2012, when the Republicans held their convention in Tampa, President Barack Obama won Florida. Likewise, the same thing happened to Democrats that year, when their convention was held in Charlotte and Mitt Romney won the state.

“There doesn’t seem to be a correlation between conventions and winning particular states,” Priebus said.

In January, Priebus named former Rep. Enid Mickelsen to serve as chairman of the convention site selection committee. “We’re trying to create the most stable and convenient platform for our nominee to be able to present him or herself to the public,” Mickelsen said Monday.

The site selection committee, led by Mickelsen, was elected at the RNC’s Winter Meeting in January. Two members and an alternate from each of the four regions of the country serve on the committee, which will tour each site and ultimately recommend the best fit to the RNC.

Representatives from five of the eight cities trekked to Washington on Monday to lobby for their selection. Those cities included Columbus, Kansas City, Denver, Phoenix and Cleveland.

The snow storm prevented the representatives from Dallas, Cincinnati and Las Vegas from making it. They will make presentations to the committee sometime over the next few weeks.

“Their flights were canceled,” Mickelson explained. “They weren’t able to get here. So we will be convening again in a few weeks to hear from those people who weren’t able to present their bid today.”

Mickelson said the RNC is “extraordinarily pleased” with both the number of bids that received, and the “quality of those bids.”

“We have eight different cities that have submitted bids, which is almost three fold what it was in the last cycle. And they are cities across the country. They are red states, blue states, swing states,” she said.

Under Priebus’ leadership, the RNC has been taking steps to condense the 2016 primary season in the hopes of keeping it from beating up the nominee too much.

Priebus said he would like for the convention to be moved from August — when it was held in 2012 — to sometime in June or July 2016.

“We took what I considered to be a six month slice and dice festival in our party and we’re shortening that time period,” he said. “That allows candidates a reasonable amount of time to make their case to the American people, but does it, I think, in a more timely fashion.”

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