DALLAS – Dallas moved a step closer Wednesday afternoon to hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.
After a meeting in Washington, D.C., the RNC’s Site Selection Committee narrowed the finalist cities to only Dallas and Cleveland.
“Cleveland and Dallas demonstrated their ability to host a phenomenal convention in 2016, and the RNC is excited about the prospect of hosting our convention in either of these great cities," said Enid Mickelsen, Chairwoman of the RNC's Site Selection Committee. "After visiting both cities, I can say to my fellow Republicans that we should be excited for the 2016 convention. These world class cities know how to roll out the welcome mat, and more importantly they have the ability to provide our next presidential nominee a launching pad that will put a Republican in the White House in 2016."
Denver and Kansas City had also been vying for the convention and made it to the earlier round.
“The committee extends our sincere thanks and gratitude to Denver and Kansas City for their hard work and dedication to this effort. Both teams should be proud of their work. They were great ambassadors for their cities, and we felt fortunate to visit and get to know them. This was a tough decision for our committee because all four of these cities made excellent bids," Mickelsen added.
The RNC will announce the host city for its 2016 convention on Aug. 8.
The Site Selection Committee visited the American Airlines Center earlier this month where the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau rolled out a highly produced presentation for the RNC team.
Dallas is widely seen as the favorite for the RNC since Texas is the largest Republican state and the party would likely want to brag about the so-called “Texas miracle” -- the state’s economic success during the national downturn.
If Dallas is eventually chosen, the convention would take place inside the American Airlines Center on July 18, 2016.
It would be expensive, too.
Dallas would have to raise $60 million from donors to host the national convention. Already, Dallas has more money committed to the convention than any other finalist city.
One donor already committed a million dollars; there are pledges for another $20 million; and the City can get $25 million in sales tax rebates from the state's Major Event Trust Fund, said Chairman of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau Phillip Jones.
Still, that leaves another $15 million organizers would have to raise locally.
Federal grants pay for some of it and the GOP itself picks up another portion of the tab. Tax money is not used, organizers said.
The RNC has settled on two dates for the cities to consider: June 27 and July 18.
Dallas is bidding for the GOP's July 18 date to avoid a potential scheduling conflict if the Mavs make it to the NBA finals. Cleveland has an advantage in that the city can offer both the June and July dates.
During the visit to Dallas, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said he would prefer the June date, but each city had something different to offer.
Republicans want to hold their convention earlier this election cycle to give the nominee more time to raise money for the general election.
Dallas last hosted a national convention in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was nominated for a second term.
The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau says RNC officials told them they did a "slam-dunk job." The committee says it still has questions for Cleveland and will have to visit again, while officials said they don't see a need to return to Dallas.
The convention could bring in $250 million to the Dallas economy if the city is chosen.