Cleveland Officials Pitch Bid for RNC in Washington D.C.

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WASHINGTON D.C. -- National Republicans are one step closer to choosing where to hold their next convention and it could be in Cleveland.

Local leaders were in Washington Monday, trying to convince committee members to hold it in Northeast Ohio.

Cleveland is among eight cities, including Columbus and Cincinnati, trying to host the Republican National Convention in 2016. Mayor Frank Jackson and other city leaders got their chance to sell Cleveland to the Republican National Committee.

Mayor Jackson and other government, political and business leaders walked into the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington D.C. Monday evening.  Cleveland was the last of the eight cities to meet with committee members, trying to convince them to hold their 2016 convention in Cleveland.

"I think there was a lot of energy in the room. We started by giving them O'Malley espresso chocolate beans to get them fired up a little bit," said Chris Connor, Chairman and CEO of Fortune 500 company Sherwin Williams.

In 2006, Cleveland tried to host the Republican convention, but came in second. Mayor Jackson says a lot has changed since then.

"We paid attention to their critique as why we came in second and not first and we believe that we've addressed all of the issues that they raised and more," Jackson said.

The delegation told members that the city has more hotel rooms in and around downtown, more entertainment and restaurants, a new convention center and a better transportation system.  He says the city, mostly through the private sector, can raise the millions of dollars it would take to host the convention.

"I think there's a sense of pride in Cleveland, a can-do spirit that this is the year to win it," Connor said.

Earlier, RNC chairman Reince Priebus told reporters that many factors go into selecting a host city.

"Transportation, hotel space, how long it takes to get to and from a particular location, the delegate experience in there somewhere as well, but then I would say after that, I would worry about whether being there would help our chance of winning that particular state," Priebus said.

Positively Cleveland CEO David Gilbert says some committee members knew little about Cleveland and had pre-conceived opinions about it.

"We think we changed a lot of minds in the presentation and what Cleveland really is and we think if we can get them to Cleveland, we're going change their minds even further," Gilbert said.

Because of heavy snow in Washington D.C., three cities, Dallas, Las Vegas and Cincinnati, had to postpone their presentations. Columbus, Denver, Kansas City and Phoenix are also in the running.

If Cleveland is chosen as one of the potential sites for the convention, then committee members will visit Cleveland sometime later this year.

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  • Barry

    It would be great if Cleveland hosted the RNC, but since Cuyahoga county always votes almost 100% democrat that’s like rewarding bad behavior. On the other hand, Cuyahoga county and Cleveland should have no trouble giving bribes to get the RNC, sine they are used to taking them for years.

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