Controversial convention: Looking back at the 1936 Cleveland RNC

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CLEVELAND- We are less than 100 days from the highly anticipated Republican National Convention which will take place in downtown Cleveland.

This is not the first time the convention has put Cleveland in the spotlight.

80 years ago, the Republican Party came to Northeast Ohio with some controversial choices to make.  In fact, the 1936 convention was a pivotal time for the party and an exciting year for Cleveland.

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Cleveland State University associate professor Mark Souther told FOX 8 News the 1936 convention was contentious for the Republicans, but a high mark in Cleveland history.

The 1936 convention was held at the Public Auditorium. You had the popular lion of Idaho, Senator William Borah, who was known for going against the party line. Borah was running against Kansas Governor Alf Landon, who wanted to reign in spending from Franklin Roosevelt's new deal.

According to professor Souther, "here were many people in the party elite who didn't really like Borah so much and Landon was someone who they thought was someone who was better positioned would also be closer to their camp so they bent things back around to what they wanted to see."

Alf Landon, who didn't even attend the RNC, ended up beating William Borah once all the delegates were counted.  In the end, Landon lost to Roosevelt in a landslide that November.

The 1936 RNC will always be known not just as a time of discord in the party, but a time when Cleveland took the national stage and got a chance to take a well deserved bow.

As the nation's sixth largest city, Cleveland was hit hard by the depression with thousands unemployed.  However, tourism and convention business helped create jobs and in 1936 Cleveland was a destination as the slogan meet me on "Lake Erie Dearie" was said all around the country.

The 1936 RNC wasn't the only event that summer.  The Great Lakes Exposition brought in millions of people and add in the 4 days of the RNC, Cleveland made headlines and radio broadcast as a city that was the place to be.

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