(WASHINGTON) — The Republican National Committee chose Cleveland on Tuesday as their city to host the 2016 presidential convention, knocking out Dallas in the final round.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus made the announcement on Fox News, calling it a “city that’s on the rise” and calling it a “business decision.”
“In the end it’s Cleveland, Ohio,” Priebus said. “As goes Ohio, so goes the presidential race.”
Cleveland is in the swing state of Ohio — one critical reason it was chosen, but far from the only one. Denver, Kansas City, Missouri, Cincinnati and Las Vegas were all eliminated earlier in the process.
Priebus said on Tuesday that the start date would be either June 28 or July 18.
The campaign of Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis snubbed the Texas GOP’s Greg Abbot over Tuesday’s decision.
“A major role of the governor is to attract conventions, tourism and business to the state of Texas in order to create good paying jobs and boost the economy,” Davis campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas said.
“Despite his begging, Greg Abbott was unable to deliver the Republican National Convention to Dallas. It’s unfortunate because this is one of Greg Abbott’s insider backroom deals Texas families could have really used.”
Dallas may have had more hotels, but the GOP this year is committed to holding the convention earlier to try and eliminate a long GOP primary season full on intra-party fighting.
Moving up the date of the convention also comes with its own particular needs. One is the possibility that the convention could go into basketball playoff season and sources with knowledge of the decision say it did play into the final selection.
In Cleveland, the owner of the Cavaliers is also the owner of the Quicken Loans Arena, Dan Gilbert. Sources say if the team goes far into the playoffs they can move their team to another location. But in Dallas, American Airlines arena is owned by the City of Dallas so the Mavericks would have a harder time moving their games if they made it far enough in the post-season.
Moving the convention earlier also allows the party’s nominee to raise more money in the general election.
“The reason that conventions kept getting pushed closer and closer to Election Day was because candidates always took public money and they could always spend the public money between the convention and the actual election,” Priebus said on Tuesday.
“But now, the candidates don’t take this money. So what ends up happening is, a candidate can be broke but they’re not able to raise general election money until the convention is held. So if you have a candidate that’s broke after a primary in May, that candidate is basically a duck in the pond until you get nominated. Therefore if you have an August or September convention, you’re basically sitting there with no money — no ability to raise money. So that’s why we moved the convention back to the end of June, mid-July, so now the whole process can move forward without hamstringing your candidate.”
Dallas was thought to have had the better financial package, but GOP officials visited Cleveland last week for a follow-up visit to assess if the city could make the bid work.
Cleveland was also one of the six cities up to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. A full vote will come from the DNC next month.