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Now or never? Ohio pins hopes on GOP convention

First Published      Last Updated Mar 16 2014 07:41 pm
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Cities don't always come out ahead after holding a convention. Democrats ended theirs in Charlotte millions in debt on a loan secured by Duke Energy, while Philadelphia grappled with lawsuits for years after clashes with protesters during the 2000 GOP convention.

Still, officials in Ohio say the weeklong crush of national media attention offers a chance to boost economic development.

A wild card is basketball and hockey playoffs that could run into June. The RNC wants to hold its convention between late June and mid July 2016 and needs about six weeks in advance to set up. Of the eight cities, only Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Kansas City do not have sports teams that could pose schedule conflicts.

Officials in Cleveland and Columbus say they will also apply to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, a Democrat, is making a first-time bid for a national convention that he says will show the world the growing metropolitan area has "swagger"; he touts Columbus as a swing city that could tilt Ohio in a candidate's direction.

Cincinnati, which has the support of Republican House Speaker John Boehner, says it is home to some of the nation's most generous GOP donors.

In Washington, D.C., to give his pitch, Cleveland's Democratic mayor, Frank Jackson, made clear his city was ready to finally host a convention.

"We went at this hard eight years ago," Jackson said, stressing that Cleveland had learned its lesson and submitted an improved 300-page bid that highlighted the city's fresh supply of hotels and restaurants. "This is the year to win it. We deserve it."





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