(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.
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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.
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.
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.
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."