Preparations are under way for the Republican National Convention for 2016. The 2012 gathering, that officially nominated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for President and Vice President was held in Tampa, Florida, during the week of August 27, 2012. Hurricane Isaac caused a minor disruption to the program.
The location for the convention is a keenly fought battle of American cities, because of the value it brings, filling hotel rooms, filling restaurants and boosting business throughout the city and state – including golf courses.
Eight cities started out vying for the honor, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix.
Las Vegas is pulling out all the stops to get the 2016 Republican National Convention, including creating the Las Vegas 2016 website, with a beautiful promotional video on the front page.
Will the Republicans be singing “Viva Las Vegas” later this summer? Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Mo., Cleveland and Cincinnati hope not.
Columbus and Phoenix have already been eliminated from the running.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson wants Las Vegas to be the winner. He pays out massive amounts of cash to fund Republicans, and some worry he may not, if his city isn’t chosen. The promotional video lets everyone know that only Las Vegas can accommodate all of the attendees within a one mile radius of the event location.
But “Sin City” is not the only one backed by billionaires. Dallas, Texas is also a billionaire paradise, and there is fierce competition. Dallas questions the image of Las Vegas, and they promote their own network of billionaire donors.
Former Nevada Governor Bob List, hosted at Adelson’s Venetian resort over the weekend, said “Sheldon wants it. It’s a business proposition. A city wanting this convention is going to need real money behind it.”
List has a vested interest in Las Vegas winning, because he is a senior advisor to their bid.
Adelson, who is CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., is backed up by the Las Vegas entertainment industry, including leaders of Caesar’s Palace, MGM Grand and the Wynn.
The 2012 convention was largely seen as a failure because of the disruption by the hurricane, so this year, the convention has been brought forward by two months, a better choice for other reasons too.
The key to a successful bid is the transportation and hotel plans, but even more importantly, money is the dominant factor. It has been reported that the price tag for a convention is around $55 million to $60 million.
If billionaires can swing the result, then both Las Vegas and Dallas have a good chance. Phillip Jones, the CEO of the Dallas bid committee said, “We have several powerful billionaire figures supporting our bid. If they want to play the billionaire game, we win.”
Pointing out that both Las Vegas and Denver, which was already eliminated, recently legalized recreational marijuana, Jones intimated that might put off the conservatives, and the cleaner Dallas image might gain an edge. He said “No one’s going to get into trouble having their meeting in Dallas … some cities we’re competing with have some significant messaging challenges.”
When big dollars and prestige are the spoils, it seems throwing a bucket of dirt on your opposition is the order of the day.