GOP on 2016 RNC: This is a 'business decision'

USA TODAY - Some delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa may still remember the hours they spent waiting for buses and shuttling to their faraway hotels, but those glitches serve as a lesson to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

Priebus said money to stage the event, logistics such as available hotel rooms and transportation, and the overall delegate experience are among his priorities as the party formally vets bids for the 2016 GOP convention.

Five of the eight cities in contention - Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City and Phoenix - are presenting their bids Monday to the RNC. Because of the snowstorm walloping the East Coast, representatives from Cincinnati, Dallas and Las Vegas will make their pitches March 21.

"We have to make sure we put on a convention that gives our nominee a bump. To me that is the No. 1 reason of having a convention," Priebus told reporters.

Priebus and site selection committee chairwoman Enid Mickelson, a former congresswoman and RNC national committee member from Utah, played down the politics of the convention site - whether it's in a swing state or GOP-friendly area - as a reason for picking one bid over another. The last time the GOP nominee went on to win the state where the presidential convention was held was 1992, when Republicans met in Houston and then-President George H.W. Bush won Texas - but lost the election to Bill Clinton.

"This has always needed to be a business decision," Mickelsen said. "What you're trying to do is create a stable platform so our nominee is the story."

Mickelsen said that means no headlines such as "RNC delegates fume over bus delays," as the Tampa Bay Times reported in August 2012, or stories about reporters complaining about power outages and the like.

Priebus also said the 2016 Republican convention will be held in mid-June or late July, part of the GOP's efforts to streamline the presidential nominating process and avoid what he called a "six-month, slice-and-dice festival." That's his view of what happened in 2012 when Mitt Romney was engaged in a protracted nomination fight and didn't secure a majority of the delegates for the nomination until May.

The RNC expects to vote on a 2016 convention host city in late summer or early fall of this year.

USA TODAY's Katie Smith assembled a bracket-style look at the eight cities vying to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.


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