Denver still in the running to host 2016 Republican National Convention

Photo: Denver Skyline (iStock)
Downtown Denver, looking west.

The Republican National Committee on Thursday invited Denver to the next stage in the site selection process to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Republican Party officials say Las Vegas and Cincinnati, two cities previously in the mix to host the next RNC, are no longer being considered for 2016.

That leaves Dallas, Denver, Cleveland, and Kansas City, Missouri, under primary consideration.

Pete Coors, Chair of Denver’s 2016 Host Committee, says it doesn’t matter how Denver made it to the final cut.

“Whether they dropped out or weren’t chosen, that’s not for me to decide," Coors says. "We’re in tooth and nail and we’re ready to fight it out with the other three cities."

Dallas is believed to be a major player in the competition, in part because of its coalition of wealthy donors with ties to the Bush family and the oil industry.

In a letter to the Republican National Committee, Las Vegas cites scheduling and facility problems in withdrawing its convention bid.

Las Vegas was thought to be a leader in the competition to win the convention, although some party officials worried that the city's reputation for excess could overshadow the event.

Coors expects the RNC’s site selection committee to come to Denver in early June to evaluate the site and what the city has to offer.

The local host committee will have to show it can raise $50-$60 million to help pay some of the convention costs.

Coors says based on studies showing the economic impact of the Republican Convention in Tampa Bay in 2012 and the Democratic Convention in Denver in 2008, the 2016 event could bring a $400 million boost to the local economy.

He likens the economic importance to a city hosting the Olympics or the Super Bowl.

“We’re really pleased," Coors says. "[We] would’ve been more pleased if we were the only city selected for the final decision, but we’ll have to wait until August to hear the news about that.”