By Jack Fink

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas will not be hosting the Republican National Convention in 2016. The party’s site selection committee just announced its recommendation and it has selected Cleveland over Dallas. This is a big loss for the city.

“I extend my deepest gratitude to Dallas,” said site selection chairwoman Enid Mickelsen in the announcement. “Dallas is a world class city with wonderful venues and fantastic people and I’m certain they’ll make a great host for our party in the future.”

Dallas came late to the competition, and was able to make it to the final round. The city’s host committee — led by Mayor Mike Rawlings, former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Phillip Jones — brought out all the stops last month, welcoming key members of the GOP to North Texas with an elephant-themed celebration.

Dallas had a number of advantages in the race to be named host city. Republicans here had already pledged about $50 million of the $60 million needed to help pay for the convention. That was about twice the amount that Cleveland had promised. Hotel rooms were also a major advantage for Dallas. There are 16,000 hotel rooms within 1.1 miles from the American Airlines Center, where the convention would have been held.

Cleveland’s biggest advantage was timing. The city said that it could host the convention in late June, while Dallas required the convention to be held in July due to possible conflicts with the city’s sporting teams. The Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars both play at the American Airlines Center, and a long postseason run from either team could stretch into June, when the GOP would have needed to be preparing the arena.

Dallas officials acknowledged on Tuesday that the later date — a July 18 start as opposed to June 27 — hurt their bid.

Texas is a solidly Republican state, but Ohio is one of the largest toss-up states during any presidential election, and one that Republicans know that they will need to win in order to reach the White House. But, from the very beginning, Republicans said that this was a business decision. It was not going to be influenced by politics, and would be strictly about which city would host a better convention.

It is not known, however, if any political factors did ultimately play a role in Cleveland being named as the host city.

“A Cleveland convention offers our party a great steppingstone to the White House in 2016,” explained RNC chairman Reince Priebus, “and I’m encouraged by the committee’s recommendation.”

This recommendation from the RNC site selection committee still requires a final vote by the entire RNC when members gather in Chicago this August. “I’m confident Cleveland is the right pick for our next national convention,” said Mickelsen.

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