The 2016 Republican National Convention is looking for a host city and the list of 8 contenders came out on Thursday: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.
Now that the list of contenders is out, the question is: “Do we have a shot?"
The graphic above shows the picks from the 9NEWS political team, representing where we think the RNC is most likely to go.
I'll explain my full ranking of the cities below, but bear in mind that the decision is a soupy mix of picking a place where things will go smoothly and where the best political story can be told.
None of us picked Denver number one, though we all gave it a chance. (Floyd gave it 4th place.)
All of us have an Ohio city in our top three.
We gave a little love for Vegas, though sin city is a tough image to counter.
Floyd and James both like Dallas, because it's a place where Hispanic voters live and the GOP has a history of winning there.
That could be one problem with Denver. Colorado doesn't have recent big Republican wins.
Our biggest selling point is that we hosted the Democrats in 2008 which went really well for Democrats.
That could also be our biggest weakness.
“The argument is the Democrats were there already, we (the GOP) are going to be compared to them, we want to break new territory,” said 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli.
Below are my full picks. Make your own and send them to me on twitter with the hashtag #RNC2016.
I really like Ohio’s chances of getting this thing. Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by a smaller margin than Colorado, making it a swingier state with twice the electoral votes of Colorado. While the GOP really wants to turn it red, Ohio’s only problem is that it’s not in the West. The RNC might be better in front a younger, more audience. Why Cincinnati over the other two? I like the infrastructure they’ve got there and it’s a nice setting on the river. Plus they make a killer beanless chili that is served on top of spaghetti. (Get it with cheddar. It’s unreal!)
I give weight to Floyd’s point about 2008 coming up in the narrative if the GOP comes here, (what if the GOP nominee doesn't draw enough people to force his acceptance speech to go to the Bronco’s stadium?) but I also give weight to the proponent’s point that the 2008 convention was a huge success. And we’ll have upgrades. The sky train is going to be in place, meaning attendees can do it all without renting a car if they want to. We don’t have the same clout as Ohio in the electoral college, but we are a place the GOP would also love to flip in a post-Obama America. Sure, we legalized pot, but much of the nation’s joking about that was vented at the Super Bowl. It’ll come up, but shouldn't be a distraction.
Even fewer electoral votes in Nevada, but a similar story to Colorado in terms of demographics. And there’s really no question it can fit 50,000 visitors (more please!) The “sin city” image is a problem, but perhaps not as big a problem as some assume. The GOP has a healthy presence in Nevada and nobody literally believes that everyone in the town is a minion of Satan.
This would have been higher on my list were it not for some of the huge controversies to come out of the GOP-controlled state legislature here. The RNC has a long list of things it wants to talk about. Anti-gay and anti-immigration policies aren’t on that list. This is fresh now and could fade by 2016, but I doubt the powers that be want to take that risk. The risk would come with rewards, though. The town has the demographics the RNC wants to woo, improved airport transportation, a revitalized downtown, and a strong record of GOP victory.
Aside from being another state that’s seen policies unpopular with the demographics the GOP is targeting, Texas is big, bold, and is its own powerful brand. So powerful that Democrats could score points with their base by simply saying “Republicans” and “Texas” in the same breath. (You know, the way Western Democrats get heckled if they endorse a “New York” idea.) That being said, the state is changing. Booming Latino populations and the influx of young professionals to major cities could force the RNC to give Dallas a serious look. I just doubt in the end that the GOP wants to ask Texas to the prom.
The city can undoubtedly pull off the event, and who wouldn’t love famous barbecue? But in the end, Missouri (and Kansas, for that matter) is a political snoozer. I’m betting the RNC wants more buzz.