DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It looks like the elephant-themed party paid off. The Republican National Committee announced on Wednesday that the GOP’s 2016 convention is coming to either North Texas or Cleveland.
Dallas city leaders threw a big celebration two weeks ago while the RNC site selection committee was in town. The welcoming party included an appearance by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, “Dallas” actress Linda Gray and two live elephants. This was all to help convince party leaders that Dallas is the best bet for the GOP event.
Reince Priebus is the chairman of the RNC. “It’s fantastic to be here in Dallas,” he said during the visit. “It’s a great city. It’s big. It plays big. The host committee has done an incredible job of rolling out the red carpet.”
“I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I was going to pet a couple of elephants on the way into the arena,” Priebus said during his recent visit to Dallas, “but that was certainly a nice touch.”
At that time, Dallas, Cleveland, Kansas City and Denver were among the finalists to be named the host city.
“Cleveland and Dallas demonstrated their ability to host a phenomenal convention in 2016, and the RNC is excited about the prospect of hosting our convention in either of these great cities, said RNC’s Site Selection Committee, Chairwoman Enid Mickelsen in a statement. “After visiting both cities, I can say to my fellow Republicans that we should be excited for the 2016 convention. These world class cities know how to roll out the welcome mat, and more importantly they have the ability to provide our next presidential nominee a launching pad that will put a Republican in the White House in 2016.”
If the convention comes to North Texas, its expected to be held at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas, which seats up to 20,000 people. However, since the arena is home to both the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars, there could be scheduling conflicts if either sports team makes it to the playoffs that season. The GOP would require the building for three weeks leading up to the June convention. Those dates would fall in line with both the NBA Playoffs and the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Republicans have considered moving the convention to July if necessary, or it could be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
In addition to the venue, the site selection committee considered a number of other factors while in town, including transportation, security and hotels. “They know that we can do this,” said former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, part of the host committee. “We can do it in a great way, and the volunteerism shown all through the week — the people coming out and welcoming this delegation — I think made a big impression.”
A final vote on the decision will be made in August, when the full RNC governing body meets in Chicago. Dallas last hosted the Republican party convention in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan was renominated.
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