Cleveland team set to woo Republicans Monday

CLEVELAND -- After all the hellos, introductions and small talk, about a dozen Cleveland business and political leaders will have less than hour to try to persuade Republicans to bring their next presidential convention to Cleveland.

Mayor Frank Jackson will lead the delegation to Washington for the important Monday presentation.

The 35,000 people that would come to Cleveland would be its biggest convention ever.

One team member, Positively Cleveland's David Gilbert, said there will be prepping and rehearsing. He said the city's bid meets or beats everything Republicans are asking for.

There's a big facility -- The Q. There's a new convention center. There will be lots more hotel rooms, 17,000 within a 45-minute drive. That includes lots of new hotels still be being built that will open by 2016.

"We're confident that everything they are looking for we have and we have well," he said.

Cleveland's vying with Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Phoenix and Las Vegas as well as Columbus and Cincinnati.

All cities will get an hour of presentation time Monday.

Gilbert says the city's presentation will be more steak than sizzle, focusing on facts over theatrics and gifts.

What about the political question? Ohio remains a key state in the presidential contest universe.

But would Republicans really come to the key city in the key county in the key state that played an essential role sending President Barack Obama back for a second term?

Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman Rob Frost says, "We lost Ohio in 2008 and 2012. If we want to win it back in 2016, what better place to start and finish than Cleveland."

Case Western Reserve University political science professor Justin Buchler thinks the argument that a convention city gives a party a big advantage in that state is overrated.

He thinks there's a "reasonable" chance Cleveland could land the convention because of Ohio's three contending cities.

But he said, "The actual benefit to the party in the states that gets the convention is tiny at most."

Democrats were last in North Carolina. Mitt Romney carried the state. Republicans were in Florida, which went to Obama.

The next goal is to advance to the final finalist stage, which means Republicans will visit the city.

They came, they saw and said "no thanks" in 2008.

But Cleveland's Host Committee team is hoping for a different outcome.

On the Democratic front, the party is holding its winter meeting in Washington, and some on Cleveland's convention team are making connections there.

The city will pursue the Democratic Convention if it does not win the Republican prize.


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