Washington (CNN) - The Republican National Committee named three cities on Friday as potential hosts for the 2012 Republican National Convention: Phoenix, Tampa and Salt Lake City.
The finalists emerged after multiple cities submitted bids to the RNC by the committee's January 15 deadline.
"These cities submitted three very strong bids, so all three are in contention," Holly Hughes, an RNC member from Michigan who chairs the RNC Site Selection Committee, told CNN. "Hosting a convention is a huge deal. A city has to raise multiple millions of dollars, but they also get the benefit of showcasing their city and bringing in revenue."
A 12-member RNC Site Selection Committee will visit the cities in late March and early April to meet with local officials and evaluate the potential sites - and will then make their final recommendation to the RNC. The full 168-member committee will vote to select the host city at the RNC's summer meeting in July.
"Phoenix, Tampa, and Salt Lake City are all amazing American cities and I wish them the best of luck with their bids," RNC chairman Michael Steele said in a statement.
The Democratic National Committee had a January 11 deadline for cities to submit letters of interest for the 2012 Democratic convention, and the committee is now working to solicit more information on those potential venues.