Cleveland, Dallas named GOP convention finalists. Who will win?

With Las Vegas out of the running, we're guessing Dallas. Studies show parties get no boost from the state they pick for conventions, so Republicans might as well meet in GOP-friendly Texas.

Brandon Wade/AP/File
The Dallas skyline is reflected in the Trinity River in this file photo. GOP officials announced Wednesday that the list of finalists to host the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential convention has narrowed to Dallas and Cleveland.

Cleveland and Dallas are the finalists for the 2016 Republican National Convention. That’s what GOP officials announced on Wednesday as they dropped Denver and Kansas City, Mo., from the list of possible host cities.

The party’s site selection committee visited candidate locations before making its choices. “Cleveland and Dallas demonstrated their ability to host a phenomenal convention in 2016, and the [Republican National Committee] is excited about the prospect of hosting our convention in either of these great cities,” said selection committee chairwoman Enid Mickelson in a statement.

Initial reactions to the announcement were mixed. Well, they were “mixed” in the sense that some reporters and Republicans were merely glum, while others were plunged into despair.

“Cleveland and Dallas? You have to be kidding,” tweeted Brendan Buck, a former spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner who is now a vice president of communications at America’s Health Insurance Plans.

“I’d rather be lit on fire and pushed into traffic while listening to Nickelback than go to Dallas in the summer,” tweeted Buzzfeed D.C. bureau chief John Stanton.

Earlier high hopes may have led to these, um, overreactions. Las Vegas was an early front-runner, as its bid was backed by Republican billionaire and super-donor Sheldon Adelson, and it has enough hotel rooms to hold the convention within a relatively small area. But Sin City withdrew in May for the stated reason that it could not guarantee an arena would be ready in time.

Then there was Denver. It has pleasant summer weather, adequate hotel rooms, and it’s in a purple state where Republicans hope to make gains. What’s not to like?

Possibly Colorado’s experiment with legalized marijuana, that’s what’s not to like. Hundreds of Republican delegates would have been walking the streets only blocks from weed dispensaries, with thousands of reporters hanging around. What could possibly go wrong?

“Why introduce an issue that’s divisive and potentially embarrassing for your party if you don’t need to?” wrote Seth Masket, an associate professor of political science at Denver University, in a blog post on this subject earlier this month.

So Cleveland and Dallas it is. In truth, Cleveland is very pleasant in the summer, with a Lake Erie shoreline and generally blue skies. It’s in Ohio, the most crucial of all swing states, so perhaps that will swing the GOP’s final choice.

Dallas is wealthy and vibrant and not that hot in early summer, when RNC chair Reince Preibus says he wants to hold the proceedings so as to get an early start on presidential campaigning.

We’ll close our eyes and choose Dallas the likely winner. (We’re already wrong – originally we thought it would be Vegas.) That’s because studies show a party gets no electoral boost in the state where it holds its national convention.

Democrats aren’t as far along in making their convention choice, by the way. They’ve still got six cities on their list: Birmingham, Ala.; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; New York; Philadelphia; and Phoenix.

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