- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Denver on Monday formally submitted its bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, arguing that its success with the 2008 Democratic convention shows it can handle such a large event.

“This is a city and a region that has proven we can do this,” Mayor Michael Hancock said at a press conference.

Colorado also has appealing symbolic value to the RNC. Once reliably red, it has leaned Democratic in the past two presidential elections because of an influx of young, educated coastal professionals and a growing Hispanic voting population. Those are two groups Republicans are trying to win back. And Republicans would be nominating their presidential candidate in the same place Barack Obama was picked to head the Democratic ticket in 2008.

“There’s an easy political case to be made,” former Rep. Bob Beauprez, a Republican and the chair of the bid committee, said.

Beauprez argued that even the state’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana could be a plus because it shows how Colorado is on the political cutting edge. “Other governors and mayors will want to come here and see how it’s working out,” he said, noting that ballot measures to legalize the drug are anticipated in several other states.

A delegation from Colorado will travel to Washington, D.C., next week to present the city’s case. The RNC will select finalists from several cities vying for the convention, which also include Las Vegas, Phoenix, Kansas City, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio. The location is expected to be selected in the summer.

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