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101 days away, Republican National Convention planners are optimistic

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CLEVELAND -As the countdown to the GOP Convention in Cleveland hits the 100-day mark, planners for both Cleveland and the Republican National Committee believe they are on-target to be ready.

With the potential that the GOP nominee won't be decided until the week of the convention itself, planners have to be a little more flexible that usual.

Steve King, chairman of the RNC's Arrangements Committee, says that because the field started with 17 candidates, there have been some contingencies in place "from day one."

Local officials have said that includes allowing for the possibility that the convention could take longer than the normal four days, though that appears unlikely.

King, who ran security for the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa, says the Secret Service and state and local officials "are on top of this thing (security); they really are."

While there are always protests at a convention, there have been concerns that emotions could be heightened if this winds up being a "contested" convention - where the nominee is actually chosen on the convention floor.

That could happen if none of the candidates comes into Cleveland with a majority of the delegates pledged to him.

Front runner <a href="">Donald Trump</a> continues to say he will win the nomination outright in the primary season. Senator <a href="">Ted Cruz</a> has made similar predictions. Ohio Governor <a href="">John Kasich</a>, who has only won his home state's primary, cannot secure enough delegates at this point to win the nomination outright.

Governor Kasich is planning for a contested convention, where delegates may choose him as the nominee.

The delegates are pledged to their candidates on the first ballot. But, if no candidate secures a majority on the first ballot, the convention becomes "open" or "contested", and the first person to win a majority of delegates on a subsequent vote would become the nominee.

The local Host Committee said at a Friday news conference that the potential of a contested convention has not hurt fundraising efforts.

So far, the committee has raised $55 million of the $64 million in private dollars that were pledged to bring the convention to Cleveland.

Host Committee CEO David Gilbert says the potential for a contested convention has not scared away donors who want to support to process.

"If it is a contested convention," Gilbert says, "more people may want to be here."

Estimates are that 50,000 people, including 15,000 members of the media from around the world, will come to Cleveland.

The media will primarily work out of the new convention center. And the RNC will soon announce where delegates will be staying.

Planners have secured over 16,000 hotel rooms within about a half-hour of Cleveland for convention week.

Meantime, a trickle of economic activity has already started to be felt. David Gilbert says a local barber who is on a list of convention vendors says he is already doing about ten extra haircuts a week that he attributes to people who are in town for per-convention business.

Cleveland is ahead in the number of volunteers it has already signed up - a total of 7,400.

The three major projects - the renovations at Hopkins Airport, and on Public Square, and the construction of the new Hilton hotel downtown, are all on or ahead of schedule.

Jeff Larson, CEO of the RNC Arrangements Committee, says planners have been "very impressed with Cleveland."

And the final countdown has now begun to the week when the eyes of the world will be fixed on Cleveland.

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