Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kansas City made the cut for the next round for 2016 Republican National Convention

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 2:12 PM

click to enlarge 1100px-Downtown_from_Top_of_Liberty2.jpg
Republican bigwigs are expected will travel to Kansas City next month to see whether the city is suitable to host the GOP presidential convention in 2016, The Pitch has learned.

An announcement has not yet been made, but Kansas City is believed to have made the cut for site selection visits after Cincinnati and Las Vegas fell out of the race. That leaves Cleveland, Dallas and Denver as sites that remain in the running along with Kansas City, pending a further announcement.

UPDATE: It has been confirmed, Kansas City remains a contender to land the Republican National Convention.

Dallas, Denver and Cleveland also want to convince GOP officials to pick their cities for the big event.

Dallas has a big fundraising purse among Texas Republicans. RNC officials expect host cities to raise at least $50 million for the event. 

Denver has proved that it can host a major political convention; delegates and others filled that city's football stadium in 2008 when Barack Obama received the nomination from Democrats that year. But some Kansas City officials think Obama's appearance could cast a long shadow over Denver's chances for landing a GOP convention.

Cleveland's advantage could rest with the possibility of pushing Ohio into Republican territory. The state has 18 electoral votes and has been a swing state for several years but has gone Obama's way in the last two presidential elections. But the actual effect on electoral votes of having a party convention is often disputed.

As for Kansas City's advantage relative to other cities, it could be a number of things. Sprint Center is relatively new and unencumbered by playoff-bound National Basketball Association or National Hockey League teams. Downtown Kansas City is newly-refurbished in some areas).

Kansas City Mayor Sly James pointed to attractions like downtown and the Country Club Plaza, each about 10 to 15 minutes from one another.

"We've done what a lot of people said we couldn't do," he said after the Kansas City Council's business session, during which James received a call from from RNC committee chair Enid Mickelson.

James offered a nod to Cathy Nugent, a Republican consultant who largely developed the idea to bring the 2016 GOP convention to Kansas City two years ago. She worked with city officials until she was cast aside late in 2013 in a shakeup that didn't seem amicable. Nugent now is helping Denver land the same convention.

As for fundraising, James said he couldn't comment on the city's progress on that front. He missed a recent meeting to discuss the effort, which is being led by JE Dunn executive Terry Dunn and his wife, Peggy Dunn, the mayor of Leawood.

James added that he wasn't sure when RNC officials would make their visit to Kansas City, but figured it would take place in June.

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