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Dallas Advances In Bid To Host 2016 Republican Convention

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Big things happen in Dallas and this might be one of the biggest yet.

The Republic National Party announced today Dallas is one of the eight finalist cities to host their National Convention in July of 2016.

It’s been 30 years since Dallas hosted the RNC, when Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984.

“We see this is an opportunity to show Dallas to a global audience and really showcase all the new development in the city since then,” said Phillip Jones, C.E.O. of the Dallas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Along with being in the Central Time Zone and having 2 airports, the city of Dallas alone has more than 35,000 hotels to house the more than 50,000 visitors the convention will bring with it.

“We have some of the best dining in the world, world class shopping, world class sports. Impressive venues from the Arts District to Klyde Warren Park, to the Perot Museum of Science and Nature to the Bush Presidential Library,” Jones said.

The front runner, at this point, according to Jones, is Las Vegas.

The RNC is a $60 million undertaking, but Jones says raising the money won’t be a problem, as several committee members have already promised large donations, if Dallas is chosen. Jones says the economic rewards for the city are worth it.

“If you look at the last couple of convention’s it ranges around $200 million so it’s a nice boost to the local economy,” Jones said.

The last time Dallas hosted the RNC was in 1984, when Ronald Reagan was re-elected.

And the city had no intention of hosting another one. When the city received the big proposal more than a year ago, the Convention Center was already booked on the proposed dates.

In the last month, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke with the RNC Chairman, pitching the American Airlines Center as a possible venue for the convention.

“They were very interested so the Mayor called me as soon as they had that meeting and said, ‘Let’s get on it,’” Jones said. “Literally, we’ve been on it for the last three weeks or more, working day and night to make it happen.”

Their work paid off when it was announced Dallas was one of eight finalists.

Now the host committee is packing their bags, getting ready to pitch to the RNC Site Selection Committee in person, in Washington D.C. on Monday.

“We’ve got more than 55 people on the host committee, big names,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings. “We’d love for them to come and have a great time in our city.”

The eight finalists will be whittled down to three, with the finalist being chosen in August.

“Dallas is America’s city. It’s a can-do city. It’s got optimism, opportunity, entrepreneurial spirit, free market capitalism. Everything we stand for, I think the Republican National Party stands for,” Jones said.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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