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
4 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. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    according to treasury.gov, the IRS budget for FY '08 was approximately $11.32 Billion. FY'09 increased to $11.64 Billion. FY '10 increased again to $12.02 Billion.

    Satisfied?
    --------------------
    Yeah. The spending increases pretty much kept pace with inflation. You have proven nothing, Fair.

    June 26, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House says:
    June 26, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm
    Just once I will like to attend the Republican National Convention so I can count out how many blacks are in attendance.

    If you ever do, watch your back.

    June 26, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. jboh

    Ohio knows who messed-up their economy. Please bring the TEA/GOP clownshow to Cleveland. For once, they may actually hear what middle class, working America thinks of TEA/GOP royalism. Never mind, I forgot, they will be locked in the convention bubble world and hear/see nothing. Don't bring Vitters though. Cleveland often loses conventions because of a shortage of "escorts".

    June 26, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....
    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House says:
    June 26, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm
    Just once I will like to attend the Republican National Convention so I can count out how many blacks are in attendance.

    If you ever do, watch your back.
    -------------------------------
    I'll wear a NRA cap so I'll fit in.

    June 26, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House says:
    June 26, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm
    Just once I will like to attend the Republican National Convention so I can count out how many blacks are in attendance.

    If you ever do, watch your back.
    ===================================================
    I have little doubt that there will be more minorities working at the facility than actually attending the convention.

    June 26, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. Malory Archer

    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.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    She's not ready for prime time.

    June 26, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. tom l

    Tom, you look in the mirror and see an independent. Yours and smith's posts are riddled with demagoguery against the left, but never the right. By definition, that makes both of you conservatives.
    =============

    Hahahahahaahaha. Fiscally conservative. Socially liberal, big guy. You are the best. So apparently you are going to ignore dozens of posts where I have criticized the previous president for his decisions including the following:

    – The Patriot Act
    – Going in to Iraq and our approach in Afghanistan
    – Medicare Part D with no funding mechanism
    – Stem cell research ban
    – TARP

    Those are some major issues that are diametrically opposed to repubs. There is not one issue that you can say the same. No, Rudy, I am no demagogue nor am I an ideologue except for my mantra that has been proven over and over. That mantra is govt is too big, intrusive and bureaucratic to function and help. So you can continue to mischaracterize smith and me as much as you want. But the truth is, not only are you extreme in your views and that has been demonstrated over and over again, you feel the need to discredit people like smith and me through your gross mischaracterizations and/or outright lies about our positions. Shameful

    June 26, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Tom l

    Rudy,
    Forgot to mention that I am also pro-choice and I believe they gave people have the right to marry and be miserable just like everybody else.

    June 26, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House says:
    June 26, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm
    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross…..
    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House says:
    June 26, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm
    Just once I will like to attend the Republican National Convention so I can count out how many blacks are in attendance.

    If you ever do, watch your back.
    ——————————————————————————————-
    I’ll wear a NRA cap so I’ll fit in.

    😊😊😊 There you go!!! But I think it will be more there working than attending, just like Rudy said.

    June 26, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "I have little doubt that there will be more minorities working at the facility than actually attending the convention."

    Haha...and I have little doubt that the GOP/Teatrolls would count them as attendees anyway to inflate the number.

    (Remember the "100,000...no 500,000...no 1,000,000....no 2,000,000 person Glenn Beck Teatroll rally on the national mall, when the number kept rising and rising every time a GOPer referred to it?)

    June 26, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "I have criticized the previous president for his decisions including the following:

    – The Patriot Act
    – Going in to Iraq and our approach in Afghanistan
    – Medicare Part D with no funding mechanism
    – Stem cell research ban
    – TARP
    "

    And yet you consistently fail to criticize him for the single LEAST "conservative" and "fiscally responsible" thing that he did: the Bush tax cuts.

    June 26, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    I'm in big D and I hope we don't get the bid.

    June 26, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Bill from GA

    " Cleveland vs. Dallas "

    I'm just glad they're not having it in Atlanta.

    June 26, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    tom l wrote:

    Hahahahahaahaha. Fiscally conservative. Socially liberal, big guy. You are the best. So apparently you are going to ignore dozens of posts where I have criticized the previous president for his decisions including the following:

    – The Patriot Act
    – Going in to Iraq and our approach in Afghanistan
    – Medicare Part D with no funding mechanism
    – Stem cell research ban
    – TARP

    Those are some major issues that are diametrically opposed to repubs. There is not one issue that you can say the same. No, Rudy, I am no demagogue nor am I an ideologue except for my mantra that has been proven over and over. That mantra is govt is too big, intrusive and bureaucratic to function and help. So you can continue to mischaracterize smith and me as much as you want. But the truth is, not only are you extreme in your views and that has been demonstrated over and over again, you feel the need to discredit people like smith and me through your gross mischaracterizations and/or outright lies about our positions. Shameful
    ==========================================================
    Your faux indignation is obvioius. Sorry, tom, but you're a "Rand Lubber", which makes you a conservative in my book. Have a nice day. Don't let Rand Paul's idyllic dream world drive you over a cliff.

    June 26, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Malory Archer

    Bill from GA
    " Cleveland vs. Dallas "

    I'm just glad they're not having it in Atlanta.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You guys were in the running, so congratulations on dodging that bullet!

    June 26, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    @tom l: "That mantra is govt is too big, intrusive and bureaucratic to function and help."

    Tell that to folks who get hit by natural disasters. Or folks on Social Security after a lifetime of working – and would have seen their savings gone up in smoke if repubs had succeeded in privatizing SS.

    Government does have a role – and what's needed is a level-headed, nonpartisan approach to fixing those parts that need it. The private sector – with its single-minded pursuit of profit – is not the answer to our prayers. That's just common sense.

    June 26, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Tom l

    Rudy,
    Forgot to mention that I am also pro-choice and I believe they gave people have the right to marry and be miserable just like everybody else.
    -----------------------------
    Oops, forgot to mention your complete agreement with Rand Paul's view that bigotry is a form of freedom of speech.

    June 26, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. smith

    @Tom l- I guess you have to basically be a liberal in order not to be labeled a conservative.

    June 26, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    (Remember the "100,000...no 500,000...no 1,000,000....no 2,000,000 person Glenn Beck Teatroll rally on the national mall, when the number kept rising and rising every time a GOPer referred to it?)
    ----------------------------------
    Let's not forget about the “Truckers To Shut Down America” rwnjs who threatened to shutdown Washington last October. They came in waves(HA!!!).

    June 26, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. smith

    Oh yes, the RNC will be a whites only affair I guess all the non-white members of the party just don`t count anymore.

    June 26, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Tom l

    Sniffit
    "And yet you consistently fail to criticize him for the single LEAST “conservative” and “fiscally responsible” thing that he did: the Bush tax cuts."
    ===========

    Ummmmm. I don't how to respond other than to say that shows how ignorant you are about economics if you feel that I would criticize the govt for returning OUR money. And I love how you sidestep my proof of how wrong Risy was in his assertion because I have demonstrated that I'm the exact opposite of what an ideologue is. But that's cool, keep on supporting and believing the IRS because, as Rudy would say, that's mainstream.

    June 26, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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