Sin City one bidder for 2016 Republican convention

It’s that time of the political cycle again, where the major parties make the final decision where to hold their presidential nominating conventions — and when.  Jazz already reviewed some of the primary rules changes made by the Republican National Committee for the 2016 cycle, but one in particular comes directly from the experience in 2012 of having the presumed nominee held captive to brutal attacks from a better-funded and unchallenged incumbent. Republicans will hold their convention about two months earlier than has been the case in recent cycles, with the earliest national convention since 1948:


The Republican National Committee took steps Thursday to change how it will pick its presidential candidate in 2016, the latest effort by the national party to tighten control over the primary calendar. The motivation behind the change is simple: it’s all about the money.

In the summer of 2012, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign was cash-strapped as most of its resources were tied up until he officially became the GOP‘s nominee at the Republican National Convention, allowing the Obama campaign months to define him with a television blitz. The RNC, is looking to free up those general election dollars sooner by moving the 2016 convention to late June or mid-July.

Last cycle, Mitt Romney ran low on primary funds, which made him a sitting duck for Team Obama all summer long. Outside PACs attempted to fill the gap, but after serving as a punching bag for two months, Romney started off the general-election campaign at a large disadvantage. In 2016, there will be no incumbents, but the GOP is worried that a quick Hillary Clinton coronation could leave them in the same position if the Republican primaries force its eventual nominee to spend all of his or her primary cash before the convention. It’s a smart move in that respect, although it does have the potential to slow the momentum from the convention over the summer months, and leaves the Democrats the last word before the season kicks into high gear after Labor Day.

Now the question is where to hold the convention. NPR and other sources say Las Vegas has become one of the leading candidates:


Every four years a handful of cities battle to host the big nominating conventions for the major political parties. The competition for 2016 has already begun, with a surprising and aggressive player making a bid for the Republican National Convention: Las Vegas.

Certainly it’s a place that knows how to host a big convention, but for the GOP to give Vegas the nod, the party will have to look past the city’s well-earned reputation as “Sin City.”

The Las Vegas 2016 committee is eager to change the idea that the city is not a place a political party wants to be associated with.

In a video, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval makes a political case for the city.

“Nevadans have come from everywhere and found success in coming together. We are stronger because of our vibrant Hispanic, African-American and Asian communities. Our party can and must appeal to everyone,” Sandoval said.

Here is Sandoval’s personal invitation to the GOP:

The city’s bidding team has its own website up, Las Vegas 2016, with another video, “Las Vegas is Ready”:

The two videos and their decidedly antiseptic view of Sin City amused my friend Jon Ralston, a savvy Nevada political analyst:


No doubt, Las Vegas knows how to handle big events. It’s also a place that advertises with the now-notorious slogan, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” — except it won’t when it comes to a political convention. Other cities have plenty of opportunities to create public-relations and legal trouble for Republican delegates and officials, but no other city is so well designed for that purpose, or has the concentration of potential trouble that Las Vegas does. (In every other effort to attract tourists, the city practically makes than an explicit sales pitch.) On the plus side, we have an opportunity to stick a thumb in Harry Reid’s eye and partner up with Sheldon Adelson, a big GOP donor who’s taken a beating for his activism over the last few years.

The other bidders make a little more sense. Even though Democrats did Denver in 2008, Republicans might want to consider the city now in an effort to turn the once-reddish state back in the GOP direction. It has more electoral votes than Nevada, too, although in 2008 Denver had some significant capacity issues. The hold-the-line argument can be made for Columbus, Ohio and Kansas City, Missouri, two purple states that the GOP has to win in 2016. Phoenix could be a dark-horse contender, close enough to the interior West states to build excitement for Republicans in Colorado and Nevada without the potential pitfalls of those two venues. I used to live in Phoenix and still have family there. Arizona should be safely Republican, though, and that may turn off those who want to use the convention to stake out new turf (or pull disputed turf back in the fold), although Politico notes that Phoenix would be a good platform to woo the Hispanic vote.


Of the five, which would you choose? Take the poll:

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