Denver stays in running to host Republican Convention in 2016

The Pepsi Center would be part of the 2016 Republican National Convention if Denver is selected as the host.

The Pepsi Center would be part of the 2016 Republican National Convention if Denver is selected as the host.

WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee has narrowed the list of cities it is considering to host the 2016 GOP convention to six — and Denver is one of them.

The RNC announced Wednesday it is no longer considering Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio.

Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas and Kansas City, Mo., join Denver as those still in contention to host the convention where Republicans will officially choose their presidential nominee.

“We believe that no city is better equipped to host the Republican National Convention, and we are excited to make it to the next stage in the selection process,” Denver 2016 Chairman Pete Coors said.  “We will continue to work with our bipartisan coalition of business, civic and political leaders to show the Site Selection Committee just why Denver is the best choice to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.”

In 2008, Denver was a successful host for the Democratic National Convention that formally nominated Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The Pepsi Center was the site of the first three days of the convention, but the stadium then-named Invesco Field at Mile High was used for Obama’s acceptance speech.

“In any other year, Columbus and Phoenix could have topped the list, but with so many strong cities competing, the committee had to make the difficult decision to narrow the field,” said Enid Mickelsen, chair of the RNC’s Site Selection Committee. “Phoenix and Columbus are great American cities, and I hope they’ll pursue a future bid for an RNC convention.”

Representatives from each of the cities have been courting the RNC’s Site Selection Committee for the past few months and made their formal pitches in March.

RNC advance staff will come to Denver late this month or in early June, and official visits by the Site Selection Committee will be held in late May and June.

There is expected to be a cut from six cities to four before the Site Selection Committee chooses the host city most likely by late summer or early fall.”This is the exciting part in the process,” Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call said. “Now the Site Selection Committee will get to experience what makes Denver the jewel of the Rockies.”

For a city, a convention is a costly affair as the host is expected to raise upward of $60 million to help pay for it. But if managed correctly, a convention pays off as the surrounding communities are flooded with as many as 50,000 new visitors and the area is showcased on an international stage for weeks leading up to the event.

The Site Selection Committee will consider a number of factors as it determines what city it will choose to hold the 2016 RNC Convention, including the ability to raise money, adequate infrastructure, ease of transporting delegates and visitors to and from the convention hall, public perception and potential electoral benefits.

The Democratic Party goes through a similar process when choosing its convention site.

Since 1900, Cincinnati and Las Vegas are the only cities among the six to have not hosted a Republican or Democratic convention, though Cincinnati hosted the Democrats in 1856.

Kansas City has hosted three conventions since 1900 (Democrats in 1900, and Republicans in 1928 and 1976). Cleveland hosted Republicans in 1924 and 1936. And Dallas was home for the Republican Convention in 1984.

Denver also was host to the Democratic Convention in 1908 as well as 2008.

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