CLEVELAND -- Republicans have picked Cleveland to host their 2016 convention.

The nine-member Party's Site Selection Committee voted for Cleveland over Dallas in a late morning conference call.

Formal word of the selection is expected shortly.

The decision means Republicans and the city's Host Committee will enter into formal negotiations to hammer out terms of the deal.

Republicans want to announce a completed, signed, sealed and delivered pact at an Aug. 8 event in Chicago, following full Party approval.

Republicans chose between two very different cities.

Dallas had more money, more hotel rooms, more Republicans and is in a state with more electoral votes.

But Texas is a virtual certainty to go Republican, regardless of where the convention is held.

THE COMPETITION: Dallas was pretty confident of its chances just a week ago

Cleveland impressed the Republicans on three separate visits here, with its revived downtown, bipartisan spirit, public-private partnership and ability to hold an early June 27 convention.

The Party called it primarily a business decision about the best delegate experience and raising enough local money.

But politics plays a big role.

THE MAYOR REACTS: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson reacts to announcement on WKYC

And heavily Democratic Cleveland hosting Republicans made it an unconventional convention choice in the minds of some observers.

But picking Cleveland signals Republicans hope to win the key swing state of a Ohio and send out a message that the party is attempting to become more diverse and more inclusive.

Dallas offered only a July 18 date.

NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: NBC's Chuck Todd chimes in on RNC host announcement

Cleveland has not hosted a political convention since Republicans picked Alf Landon here in 1936.

The selection means two years of hard work. A Convention Center flagship hotel is promised to be done in time for the convention.

THE COMMUNITY: Medical community supports RNC

And a committee overseeing a makeover of Public Square hopes to fast-track fundraising for the project to have it convention ready.

Democrats are slated to come to Cleveland August 4 and August 5 to check out the city for their convention.

But Cleveland's pick by Republicans may make that moot, since Democrats have a clause in their requirements that the host city host only them.

FULL PRESS CONFERENCE: Cleveland reacts to being picked as RNC 2016 host:

WATCH: WKYC's coverage of the RNC 2016 decision: