Washington (CNN) – Local officials in three states are awaiting word Wednesday to see which city national Republicans have chosen to host the party's 2012 presidential nominating convention.
At stake is international exposure and perhaps as much as $170 million pumped into a metropolitan area's economy, according to an estimate provided by the Republican National Committee.
Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Tampa Bay all bid for the convention and will learn their fates Wednesday afternoon. RNC officials visited each city over the past two months looking at the municipalities' infrastructure, hotel room capacity, transportation, accessibility and entertainment options for attendees.
The RNC says that 45,000 people attended the 2008 Republican National Convention held in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The convention was responsible for "nearly $170 million in new money … generated for the local economy."
Tampa Bay is considered to be well positioned because Florida is a battleground state, has 27 electoral votes and the infrastructure to hold such a big event. Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and choosing the city would be a sign that the Republican Party is reasserting itself in the West. President Obama won Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico in 2008, states that President Bush carried four years earlier. And there is speculation that Phoenix's chances of landing the convention might be harmed because of Arizona's new controversial law dealing with illegal immigrants.
The RNC Site Selection Committee's recommendation Wednesday would need to be ratified by the full RNC membership in the summer.
The Democratic National Committee, which is considering 10 cities including Charlotte, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis and Tampa Bay will announce its decision in late fall, according to a Democratic source with understanding of the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.