Top Republicans impressed by Cleveland’s 2016 bid

CLEVELAND (AP) – A site selection panel considering Cleveland’s bid for the 2016 GOP convention has found no weaknesses in the city’s proposal, the chairman of the Republican National Committee said Tuesday.

RNC chairman Reince Priebus said Republican officials have found the efforts made by the local host committee to sell Cleveland to the GOP to be remarkable.

“I think the rest of the cities will have a lot of work to do,” Priebus said, referring to fellow convention hopefuls Denver, Kansas City and Dallas.

The party sent a team to determine if the city and its facilities would be suitable to host the convention, an event that would bring tens of thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars to Cleveland and northeast Ohio.

Cleveland is the first of four stops by the site selection committee. An decision is expected in mid-August.

Members of the host committee said Cleveland is ahead of its goal of raising $55 million needed to host the convention. The federal government is expected to spend as much as $50 million in the host city, much of which will pay for permanent security fixtures, said Terry Egger, the host committee’s executive chairman.

Former U.S. Rep. Enid Mickelsen, the RNC site selection chairwoman, said it’s been the people she has met during her visits to Cleveland that have impressed her most.

“I think your people are your strongest asset,” she said.

Cleveland has also submitted a bid for the Democratic convention, although Priebus said Republicans are ahead in the process and should be ready to make a decision first.

The city previously hosted the Republican National Convention in 1924 and in 1936. Despite its deep Democratic roots, Cleveland has never hosted that party’s national convention.

Priebus and Mickelsen lauded the cooperation shown by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, both Democrats, and praised the bipartisan efforts to attract the convention to Cleveland.

A convention would prove a boon to a region emerging from an economic malaise caused by the Great Recession. A national political convention is expected to create between $200 million and $300 million in direct spending for the region.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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