DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For one frantic and exciting week North Texas may become the center of the 2016 presidential election. Thursday, Dallas was named one of only four cities still in the running to host the next Republican National Convention.
During the second week of June members of the RNC site selection committee will visit Dallas.
While here city leaders will offer up two location options for hosting the RNC 2016 Convention.
If the convention is held in June planners would it at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. If the RNC schedules the event to take place in July it will be held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Either location could bring in up to $250 million to the city.
The NCAA Final Four drew thousands of sports fans. And in two years, North Texas could see a similar crowd of republicans.
Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) President and CEO Phillip Jones says, “Hosting the Republican National Convention in terms of [hotel] room nights and economic impact is on par with the Final Four. That’s why there’s so much competition.”
That competition is now down to its own final four.
During the visit in June the RNC selection committee will tour both the American Airlines Center and AT&T Stadium.
The venue options in North Texas have been a major factor in Dallas making the latest cut of possible host cities. Cincinnati and Las Vegas withdrew their bids, because of outdated and untraditional arenas that didn’t meet the RNC’s criteria.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the venue options are more than appealing. “To have something close downtown and then to have another venue to offer… I’ll tell you this, nobody has that.”
Dallas will also tout its 35,000 hotel rooms – most within four miles of the AAC. That’s a key selling point, especially after republican delegates at the 2008 Tampa convention were forced to stay an hour away.
Dallas will have its own challenges, though. For one… it’s already in a red state.
“There’s this notion you should go to swing states,” Rawlings said of RNC selections. “But it has not necessarily worked well in the past.”
Another factor for the selection committee to consider – the summer heat! But Mayor Rawlings had a positive take on that as well. “I think people like to be warm,” he said laughing, “generally versus cold.”
CVB head Phillip Jones doesn’t think the heat in other possible host cities is any better. “I’ve been to Denver in the summer and I’ve never been warmer. And, their air conditioning isn’t nearly as good as ours.”
The CVB says it has already secured the necessary $60 million in private and state funds to bring the convention here. They say there will be a minimal cost to taxpayers, other than the task of providing security. Regardless, a portion of any costs would be offset since the city would receive a big grant from the federal government.
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