Las Vegas withdraws bid to host GOP National Convention

Reported by: Terri Hendry
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Updated: 5/22/2014 6:56 pm
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- Las Vegas's effort to host the Republican National Convention is 2016 came to an end on Thursday. The city withdrew its bid, citing timing and venue challenges.

Thursday was the day the RNC Site Selection Committee was going to announce the final list of cities in the running. Before that happened, the Nevada Host Committee sent a withdrawal letter.

Officials cited a couple of problems. First, the GOP wanted to move the convention date up to June 2016, which created calendar problems for the venue site, the Las Vegas Convention Center. There was concern that there would not be enough time to set up for the event, and tear it down fast enough for the next event.

Republican Senator Greg Brower, who represents District 37, said, "I guess one of the issues was the lack of a single facility that would have been suitable for this type of convention."

Another problem was Las Vegas not being able to guarantee $60 to $70 million to hold the event. Jon Ralston, host of "Ralston Reports" said, "There just wasn't enough interest inside of Las Vegas to actually buy the thing. Sheldon Adelson, a few people may have heard of him, could have bought this thing, but he was not willing to do that. He was going to put proportionally his share, but they needed more than that."

Brower said he was disappointed, but not surprised by the decision. "I think Las Vegas has a lot to offer when it comes to a convention or conference that big, but I'm not sure Las Vegas was ever the front runner. Frankly, it was somewhat of an unconventional choice."

There was some concern about Las Vegas' reputation, voiced by some conservative party members. Ralston didn't think this was a significant factor in whether Vegas would be chosen or not. "It may reinforce a lot of national stigmas that Nevada and Las Vegas have, Sin City, the place you don't want to go, but I don't think that played a role in this at all. It's been out there, but I think they could have gotten beyond the social conservatives."

Both Brower and Ralston expressed disappointment in the turn of events. "Like any big convention, it would have been very lucrative for Las Vegas and for the economy in general," said Brower.

"It's not a loss in terms of money, but it may be a loss in terms of prestige," Ralston said.

There are four cities that remain in the running: Cleveland, Kansas City, Denver and Dallas. Dallas is rumored to be the favorite.

Officials say Las Vegas may try again to host the national GOP convention in 2020.
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