Vegas Withdraws Bid for 2016 GOP Convention

Thursday, 22 May 2014 03:45 PM

 

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Luck has run out for Las Vegas' push to bring the Republican Party's next presidential nominating convention to Sin City. Cincinnati also has withdrawn from the list of possible hosts.

The remaining potential sites are Dallas, Denver, Cleveland, and Kansas City, RNC officials approved the four in a vote Thursday and said they would begin site visits to narrow the field by this summer.

Las Vegas organizers cited problems with scheduling and convention space in a letter sent to the Republican National Committee before its vote Thursday. The desert city was thought to be a leader in the competition, although some party officials worried that its reputation for excess could overshadow the event.

Other party officials were concerned about the influence of Republican mega-donor, casino owner Sheldon Adelson. Among the world's 10 richest people, Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands, had promised to put his vast fortune behind the effort to bring the convention to Las Vegas. The casino industry, including the leaders of the Caesar's Palace, MGM Grand and the Wynn, was also largely unified behind the bid.

The RNC said Cincinnati bid officials cited issues with its arena in pulling back its proposal.

Dallas is considered a major player in the competition, in part because of its coalition of wealthy donors with ties to the Bush family and the oil industry.

The RNC wants the conference held in the early summer of 2016, roughly two months sooner than has become the norm. Officials are focused on each city's transportation and hotel plans following a 2012 Tampa convention in which many participants were forced into hotels an hour from the convention site.

Money is the dominant concern. RNC officials who were forced to divert limited resources toward the last two conventions insist they cannot do so again. Most cities expect a convention price tag of between $55 million and $60 million.

"Prior to the committee's vote, Cincinnati and Las Vegas notified the RNC that they would no longer pursue their bid to host the 2016 convention," said RNC Site Selection Committee Chairwoman Enid Mickelsen of Utah. "While the committee understands their decision, both cities made a compelling case for 2016 and would make excellent hosts should they pursue efforts to host a future RNC convention."

In their letter to the RNC, those behind the Las Vegas bid said they were deferring their effort to 2020.

"We unwaveringly believe that Las Vegas offers the most compelling business, logistical and quality of experience reasons to be selected as the venue for a national political convention," reads a copy of the letter obtained by The Associated Press, "but the members of the Las Vegas 2016 Host Committee respectfully defer to the determination of your Site Selection Committee."

Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald said he was disappointed that the convention wasn't coming to his state, "but I will get a convention somehow, some way."

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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