Cleveland vs. Dallas
Cleveland (top) and Dallas (bottom) are the two finalists to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
June 26th, 2014
01:07 PM ET
3 months ago

Cleveland vs. Dallas

(CNN) - It's down to the "Big D" and the "Rock and Roll Capital of the World."

Both Dallas and Cleveland have plenty of pluses as the two finalists bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

And for both cities, there's a lot up for grabs. While hosting a convention is a pricey proposition – host cities are expected to raise more than $60 million to help pay for the event – the payoff's alluring. The host city will be flooded with tens of thousands of visitors, and will be showcased on the national, and even global stage, for a couple of weeks.

The Republican National Committee's expected to choose the host city by late summer or early fall. But why wait for the RNC.

Here's a look at what the two cities have to offer and the opinions that some veteran Republican strategists shared with CNN.

Cleveland

The nation's 45th most populous city, according to the 2010 census, may be best known as the home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But the northeastern Ohio city, along the shores of Lake Erie and bisected by the Cuyahoga River, is also home to the Cleveland Clinic, which is ranked among America's best hospitals. The city averages high temperatures in the low 80's during the summer.

Politically, Cleveland is located in one of the most crucial battleground states in the nation. And no Republican presidential candidate has won the White House without winning Ohio.

While that may seem like a plus, holding a convention in a city far from guarantees a political party will win that state come November. The last time the GOP captured the state where they held their presidential nominating convention was 1992, when the party held camp in Houston.

Last time around neither party (the Democrats in Charlotte, North Carolina and the GOP in Tampa, Florida) carried the state where they held their convention.

"There doesn't seem to be a correlation between conventions and winning particular states," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said earlier this year.

Cleveland's twice held presidential conventions: the 1924 and 1936 Republican conventions.

Dallas

The nation's 9th most populous city is a business mecca, but it also has some of the best shopping and dining in the nation. The city can also boast that it has around 8,000 more hotels rooms than Cleveland, and a lot more flights in and out of Dallas Fort Worth International than Cleveland Hopkins International. Summertime highs average in the low to mid 90's.

Dallas, of course, is not located in a crucial battleground state.

From the end of Reconstruction in the 19th Century until the 1980's, Democrats dominated politics in Texas, but by the mid 1990's the GOP became the dominant party in the Lone Star State. While Democrats are once again making gains, thanks to changing demographics, the state remains solidly red when it comes to presidential politics. The last Democratic presidential candidate to win the state was Jimmy Carter in 1976

Dallas has held one convention: the 1984 RNC.

The take

Republican strategist Kevin Madden said "there are two separate tracks of consideration: logistical and political."

"Politically, Cleveland is a strong choice because it's a major city in the Grand Poobah of battleground states, Ohio. Logistically, Dallas has a strong reputation for its ability to handle large convention crowds because of its hotel and venue offerings. Choosing the right locale is a balance between those types of considerations," added Madden, a CNN contributor who was a top adviser in Mitt Romney's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist and radio talk show host, pointed out that a key factor in the selection process "the availability and proximity of lodging, transportation, local enthusiasm, and a viable arena."

"I'm leaning towards Cleveland because traffic is not a major issue there and it will make it easier for all involved if they don't have to deal with traffic tie-ups. Delegates spend a lot of money to come to the conventions and they want to take in all the activities they can while they are there; that means getting from point A to point B with ease," added Stewart who worked as a senior adviser for three recent presidential campaigns: Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum and Rep. Michele Bachmann in 2012.

Veteran New Hampshire GOP consultant Jim Merrill said that "out of two great cities, I think Cleveland offers more as host for the convention."

"The city has great character, and a compelling comeback story to tell. We need to bring Ohio back into the win column, and if ever there was a time for a GOP Rust Belt Renaissance, it'll be in 2016, starting with the Buckeyes," added Merrill, who was a top adviser to Mitt Romney in the Granite State in his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Erick Erickson, the editor of the influential conservative website RedState, said that "Cleveland is a pretty big hotbed of human trafficking in the United States and it'd be great if the RNC could use a platform there to shed the spotlight on an issue that still mostly flies under the radar."

But Erickson added that "Dallas seems to have more options and opportunity. It is already in a red state, unlike Ohio, but then I don't really buy into the idea that having the convention in a swing state helps win that state. Dallas seems like a better fit."

South Carolina based GOP consultant Hogan Gidley told CNN that the pluses for Dallas "are obvious. Texas is a hugely conservative state with native sons like Bush Perry and Cruz. Names that represent the past present and future of Republican politics. And as the GOP seeks to expand its tent, having the convention there provides the party an opportunity to take our message to a large Latino population."

"From an infrastructure stand point, there are huge upsides. Dallas has more than enough hotel rooms and space to handle convention-goers, the media and of course, protestors," added Gidley, a former executive director of the state GOP who has close ties to Huckabee and Santorum.

Veteran GOP consultant Alex Castellanos, a CNN contributor and the founder of the NewRepublican.org, doesn't appear to be jazzed by either city: "Dallas in July or Cleveland anytime? At least the nation's attention won't be drawn away from GOP delegates wearing funny hats and blowing air-horns by the romance or glamor of either city."

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    Regardless the unlucky city that gets the red's convention, they'd better get into siege mentality mode, get ready to turn their city into a bunker, plan on spending a great deal of $$$ to meet the ridiculous demands of the reds AND feel the heat of all the business owners who lose their shirts BECAUSE of the scenario described above. Just ask the city of Tampa about that. The only guy who made any money off THAT fiasco was Joe Redner (google him). But of course it was President Obama's fault the Tampa convention flopped because HE PERSONALLY conjured up a hurricane and sent it into the Gulf of Mexico to rain on their parade!

    June 26, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Hooper

    As soon as the city is picked, there should be an increase in the shipment of Air Wick supplies sent immediately. The smell will be horrible in these areas for quite some time, and the residents close will appreciate the gesture.

    June 26, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Much thunder...little rain

    Easy....Dallas

    June 26, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. rs

    statistically, the GOP has lost the state they held their conventions in for the last several election cycles. They had better opt for Dallas- they might win there and break their streak- but they sure cannot win a national election without Ohio.

    June 26, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Silence DoGood

    Let them do it in Dallas.
    Then they can vote all go to Texas and secede from the US.
    And carry on their theocratic fiefdom, and kick out all the infidels and those of the wrong color.
    And become the newest 3rd world country.

    June 26, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Lolo

    Another fiasco no matter what city they pick. Can you believe the TP idiot in Ole Miss mad becaufe the black folks voted for the other republican. Then they put the dummy Sarah Palin on fox crying about the same thing. America wake up, these idiots are so brazen that they think that they can say and do anything and get away with it. They are only changing their stripes somewhat because of the mid-term elections coming up in November. We all know that they are a racist, greedy bunch of folks. Now they want to pass a jobs bil, but everyone knows it won't get past the tea jerk house. Just vote these jokers out period. The established GOP have step in it big time. They created the TP KKK Klan by making noise and empty promises to them. Now they are trying to get rid of them. It is too funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 26, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    It doesn't matter where they go. Mother Nature will find them again if they try to add an extra day to their convention, just so that they can get a whole extra day of 24/7 coverage on all of the networks. That hurricane threat in Tampa cut them day short in 2012, and brought them back down to Earth.

    June 26, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dallas would be my bet. What better state to represent GOPerville's finest? Fact is, the Republican convention held in Minneapolis in 2008 was a flop.

    Of course, our bridge collapsing as it did the year before might have been a factor. It certainly became a factor in who McCain picked as his V.P choice.

    June 26, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Oh, yeah. Republicans blamed the hurricane threat to their 2012 convention, which made them axe the extra day, on the Obama administration. Many spoke out against the National Hurricane Center, accusing it of putting out a false report when the storm pretty much missed Tampa.

    June 26, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Jack

    Cleveland is very Liberal and Dallas is Moderately Conservative......

    Easy Choice for the GOP: DALLAS

    June 26, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Marty

    I've been to both. Go to Dallas.

    June 26, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. Dr. Brown

    And the loser is.... much like the rest of us, they're is no winning with the gop. They always exact a toll.

    June 26, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. smith

    Being that Cleveland is a liberal haven I doubt the GOP would be very welcome there. So Dallas becomes the logical choice.

    @Rudy-Being that I am pro-choice, pro-womens rights, think the GOP lets church influence their political stances, not against gay marriage and think marriage in general should be abolished, just to name a few. I doubt I would be welcomed by conservatives.

    June 26, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. just asking

    too damn hot in dallas in the summer. go with cleveland! (i hate the heat and don't give me that crock of it is a dry heat)

    June 26, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. dave

    Dallas wins, and after a very successful GOP election in 2014 AND 2016, AMERICA WINS!!!!!

    June 26, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. dave

    Which party hold the record for spending for their convention? Which party required at LEAST 2 forms of I.D. with one being a picture ID to attended their "big dance"?

    June 26, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    whichever city will need to up their deliveries of alcohol, escorts and open some new strip bars. The "family values" crew is comin' to town and they are looking' for some righteous fun

    June 26, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Oh, yeah. Republicans blamed the hurricane threat to their 2012 convention, which made them axe the extra day, on the Obama administration. Many spoke out against the National Hurricane Center, accusing it of putting out a false report when the storm pretty much missed Tampa.
    --------
    Yawn. The democrats blamed Katrina on the Haliburton Hurricane Machine.

    June 26, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Just once I will like to attend the Republican National Convention so I can count out how many blacks are in attendance.

    June 26, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. Kick in Dallas

    Easy choice for Democrats: George W. Bush will be front and center if the GOP convention is held in Dallas. The voters in this country could use a little refresher course on the subject. How could they hide W in Dallas? While the Pugs are waxing patriotic about Ronald Reagan, Democrats will focus on George W and the consequences of voting Republican!

    June 26, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Yawn. The democrats blamed Katrina on the Haliburton Hurricane Machine."

    Except no they didn't. Yet, what Rudy said IS true to an extent. There were people running around claiming that the Obama administration told the weather service to hype up and misrepresent the incoming hurricane in order to mess with their convention.

    June 26, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. it must be asked

    Where are the Democrats going to shovel their swill??? Should be Detroit, the model they want to bring to all of America.

    June 26, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lolo says:
    June 26, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm
    Another fiasco no matter what city they pick. Can you believe the TP idiot in Ole Miss mad becaufe the black folks voted for the other republican. Then they put the dummy Sarah Palin on fox crying about the same thing. America wake up, these idiots are so brazen that they think that they can say and do anything and get away with it. They are only changing their stripes somewhat because of the mid-term elections coming up in November. We all know that they are a racist, greedy bunch of folks. Now they want to pass a jobs bil, but everyone knows it won’t get past the tea jerk house. Just vote these jokers out period. The established GOP have step in it big time. They created the TP KKK Klan by making noise and empty promises to them. Now they are trying to get rid of them. It is too funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Aren't these the same people that were talking about being more inclusive? Wanting minorities??Sure GOP, we'd be about as welcome in your party as ants at a picnic. If the dems are smart, they'll capitalize on everything Limpballs, Whalin and McDaniels have been screaming about the past few days.

    You just can't make this stuff up. You reap what you sow GOP, and you've sowed nothing but anger and hate since November 2008.

    June 26, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. rs

    it must be asked

    Where are the Democrats going to shovel their swill??? Should be Detroit, the model they want to bring to all of America.
    _______________________
    Using your logic, the GOP should hold theirs in Bagdad then.

    June 26, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    "Yawn. The democrats blamed Katrina on the Haliburton Hurricane Machine."

    Except no they didn't. Yet, what Rudy said IS true to an extent. There were people running around claiming that the Obama administration told the weather service to hype up and misrepresent the incoming hurricane in order to mess with their convention.
    --------------------
    I think Fair was just testing out her skills at sarcasm.

    June 26, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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