GOP Picks Cleveland for Convention City
July 8, 2014

Cleveland has been selected to host the 2016 Republican National Convention after beating out Dallas for the final nod, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus announced on Fox News Tuesday.

The strongly Democratic city in the critical swing state of Ohio previously bested contenders Denver and Kansas City to host the multi-day event, which the party has indicated will take place in late June or mid-July 2016.

KC Pushes Hard for the GOP Convention
June 6, 2014

KC Star:
Kansas City turned on its brightest lights Thursday for the committee picking a site for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Fireworks. A balloon drop. Classy cuisine. Someone — it isn’t clear who — covered up the “Totally Nude” sign on Grand Boulevard, along the committee’s travel route.

A little morning rain? A minor nuisance.

With the National Republican Convention Site Committee looking on from inside the Performing Arts Center Thursday night, a fireworks display lit up the downtown sky, on the south side of the structure. | RICH SUGG/The Kansas City Star

“You have a beautiful city,” Enid Mickelsen, the site selection committee chairwoman, told reporters at midday. “It’s very clear to us that this is an all-in effort by your community, and that means a lot to us.”

That all-in effort was clearly visible Thursday, as local convention organizers escorted the 13-member selection committee and other GOP officials through parts of the community.

But Mickelsen and Reince Priebus, the party’s chairman, declined to award a clear advantage to any of the four cities still competing for the convention. The committee visited Cleveland earlier this week, and will kick the tires in Denver and Dallas next.

“It comes down to, number one, the hotels,” Priebus said. “The arena. And the ability to raise the money.”

Kansas City convention boosters provided significant news on at least one of those fronts Thursday.

Convention task force co-chairman Troy Stremming said the city has raised nearly $30 million in cash and in-kind commitments for convention costs, roughly half the amount it must provide to host the gathering.

“We feel very good about where we’re at,” Stremming said.

Full convention financing is critical. Priebus and Mickelsen said Thursday the party will not select a convention city that merely promises to meet a fund-raising target; instead, they said, the GOP will want firm guarantees to defray the convention’s expenses.

Other cities — notably Dallas — are thought to have already obtained substantial financing commitments.

The availability of the Sprint Center may help Kansas City’s bid.

Priebus said the party is focusing on two possible starting dates for its four-day convention: June 27 and July 18 in 2016. Of the two, Priebus said he prefers the earlier date.

Only Kansas City, though, can fully commit its arena to both dates. That’s “a nice little advantage … a nice nugget that Kansas City has in its back pocket,” the party chairman said.

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Priebus Says Business Factors Will Trump Politics in Picking 2016 Convo City, KC Makes Formal Pitch in Snowy Washington
March 3, 2014


Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says business factors, not politics, will be the top factor in selecting the GOP’s 2016 Convention city.
Several cities, including Kansas City, are making their pitches to the RNC Convention Selection Committee.
Also today with Kansas City are bidders from Columbus, Ohio, Denver, Phoenix and Cleveland.
The RNC postponed pitches from Las Vegas, Dallas, and Cincinnati because of poor weather in the Washington area.
Priebus says major factors in the business decision include the amount of money the host city can raise. That is expected to be around $50 million or more.
Other factors include transportation, including the ability to get delegates to and from the Convention hall promptly. Another factor will be hotel space.
Kansas City says it’s offering more than 17,000 first class hotel rooms required by the RNC.
Troy Stremming of the Kansas City RNC effort says all delegates will be within 30 minutes of the Convention Hall at Sprint Center, if KC wins the convention.
The RNC is playing down the political
impact of where the convention is held.
Priebus says it’s more important the host city can have a successful convention to give the nominee a voice when it’s over.
The Chairman, however, added he didn’t think either party does a good jobs of generating volunteers for the fall campaign in the comvention’s host state.
Priebus says part of the goal in preparing for 2016 is to shorten the primary season by having a convention room in late June or July.
He says the party has to prevent the “slice a d dice” process gel felt hurt the GOP in 2012.
While Mitt Romney was a bug favorite to win the GOP nod, he was unable to win enough delegates to do so until late Spring, forcing his campaign to continue to spend money on the nomination.

KC & 7 Other Cities Make Convention Pitch to RNC Monday
February 27, 2014

Kansas city is one of eight cities the Republican National Committee bidding for the RNC 2016 nomination convention.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver Dallas Las Vegas and Phoenix join Kansas City in submitting bids in the competition. There are no surprises in the field.

RNC says all the cities will make presentations Monday March 3 in Washington throughout the day. Kansas City will introduce its presentation with a video (see previous post)

After the Monday presentations, the RNC site Selection Committee will announce the cities they’ll travel to for site visits.

The GOP says all the named cities might be included, or the field might be reduced.

Those vists will take place in late Spring.

After those visits, the field will be narrowed to the finalists.

The GOP expects to name the convention city to be voted on by the full RNC in late Summer or Fall.

The Relublicans hope to hold their convention earlier than in the recent past. The convention may be set for June of the 2016.

Recent GOP conventions have been in late August and the first few days of September.

The 2012 GOP Convention was in Tampa, Florida.

The last time Missouri hosted a nominating convention was the 1976 Republican gathering in Kansas City, nominating President Gerald Ford over Ronald Reagan. Ford picked Kansas Senator Bob Dole as his running mate.

Ford lost the November election to Jimmy Carter.

KC RNC Convention Bid Goes to GOP Wednesday
February 26, 2014

Officials from Kansas City plan to personally deliver the city’s bid information for the 2016 Republican National Convention to theGOP Wednesday.

The Associated Press reports representatives from the aspiring host cities are to make formal presentations March 3 to Republican officials. A committee then will narrow the list to several finalists for onsite visits later this year. But the winner might not be chosen until early 2015, said Sharon Day, co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.

At this point, “there is no front-runner,” she said.

Downtown Kansas City has recently undergone a $6 billion renovation anchored by the new Sprint Center arena, which sold more tickets to live entertainment events last year than its counterparts in Dallas, Phoenix, Denver or Las Vegas. The arena sits across from a new restaurant and bar district, near a renovated luxury hotel and a short walk from a massive convention center that spans eight city blocks. That whole downtown area is plugged into a newly upgraded grid for telecommunications, power, water and sewer.

An interstate highway passes right by the Sprint Center and convention hall. Although Kansas City currently lacks a commuter train, officials insist that a finely orchestrated network of chartered buses can get everyone to the convention in about 30 minutes from hotels on either side of the Missouri-Kansas border. Being located in the center of the country means attendees from both the east and west coasts can fly to Kansas City within three hours.

Political considerations, such as the region’s Republican bona fides or battleground status, aren’t part of the discussion, Day said. But the city’s logistics are a key part to selecting a convention site.

“We look at every hotel, every venue, the wiring, the security – you basically tear the city apart to make sure that they can really deliver the best possible opportunity for our presidential candidate,” said Day, who was on the 2008 site selection committee that chose St. Paul, Minn.

Kansas City’s arena can hold 19,246 people – topping the Republicans’ requirement of 18,000 – and is ringed with a double deck of suites. This past weekend, the arena was transformed with tons of dirt for a professional bull riding event. In the coming month, it will host country and rock concerts, an equestrian show, the Big 12 men’s college basketball championship and a Disney on Ice production.

The Sprint Center arena is managed by Brenda Tinnen, who was an executive at the Staples Center in Los Angeles when it hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2000.

“This is a big event in what I would call a smaller, non-traditional market for the political conventions,” said Tinnen, who also is chairwoman of the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association and vice-chairwoman of the Missouri Tourism Commission.

About 200 people attended a fundraiser last week as part of Kansas City’s commitment to raising the millions of dollars necessary to help sponsor the Republican convention. Among the contributions was $10,000 left over from the 1976 convention.