Cleveland and the Republicans are ready to rock in 2016.
Mayor Frank Jackson and party officials signed contracts that make the decision official, flanked by two guitars inscrobed with the message: "Cleveland 2016 Start Here, Finish Here."
Repblicans unanimously approved the choice at their summer meeting in Chicago Friday afternoon.
Site Selection Chairperson Enid Mickelsen said Cleveland won because of its enthusiasm to hold the event. Jackson thanked Republicans for their vote and Sherwin Williams CEO Chris Connor presented Party Chairman Reince Priebus with a plaque featuring a USA Today front page story about the party's choice of Cleveland.
Former state GOP chairman Bob Bennett seconded the motion to approve Cleveland by saying "It's my hometown, I will guarantee you we will provide you an experience you've never had before."
The party has yet to decide if it will be a late June or mid-July convention. Contracts were prepared for both possibilities.
Friday afternoon, the Republican National Committee officially selected Cleveland to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, according to WKYC Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges issued the following statement:
"The 2016 Republican National Convention is officially coming to Cleveland! This is tremendous news for our state and Party. We will have the opportunity to share Ohio's comeback story with the nation and demonstrate how powerful balanced budgets, lower taxes, and a focus on job creation can be. I want to thank Governor Kasich, Speaker Boehner, and Senator Portman for the enormous support they provided in closing the deal for Ohio. It was a tremendous team effort that will pay off big for our state and party."
The 2016 Republican National Convention is expected to bring 50,000 visitors to the city and offer a great economic boost for Cleveland and Ohio. Several projects are already underway to prepare the city for the festivities with many more in development.
The Site Selection Committee formally recommended Cleveland last month, but a formal vote today at the RNC's annual meeting in Chicago made the selection official.
In addition, former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett was unanimously selected to sit on the 2016 Presidential Primary Debate Committee. He joins the thirteen committee members as the representative from the Midwest region, accompanied by Mary Buestrin.
The honor will give him and the other members the power to to make and enforce rules on sanctioned debates, structure, format, and participation for the 2016 primary debates, paving the way for the next Republican presidential nominee.