- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - If timing determines the host of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Kansas City may have the edge because its downtown arena can be available either of the summer weeks organizers are considering for the event, the party’s chairman said Thursday.

Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus and the site selection committee toured the Sprint Center, which would be the convention venue if Kansas City, Missouri, is picked as the host site. Priebus said the start date of the convention is “almost entirely likely” either June 27 or July 18, and some of the other contenders could guarantee one week but not both.

“In the ‘when’ question Kansas City, has a nice little advantage, which is the fact that they can either give us a June date or a July date. There’s just no way around it,” Priebus said during a news conference at the Sprint Center. “It’s a nice nugget that Kansas City has in its back pocket that not every place has.”

Priebus and the RNC site selection committee arrived in Kansas City on Wednesday to look over the facilities and hotels that would be used during the convention, which is expected to draw thousands of people and millions of dollars. The committee, which leaves Kansas City on Friday, visited Cleveland earlier this week and travels next to Dallas and Denver before making a final selection, likely in August.

Priebus, who said the start date of the convention is “almost entirely likely” either June 27 or July 18, also said factors such hotels, the arena, the ability of the host city to raise money to support the event, and “other intangibles,” like the delegate experience, greatly impact the decision of where to hold the event.

Troy Stremming, co-chair of the KC2016 Bid Task Force, said so far the group has raised nearly $30 million in “in-kind contributions, as well as cash commitments.”

The group’s Kansas City tour included being driven onto the Sprint Center floor, which was decked out in bunting and where about 10,000 red, white and blue balloons dropped while the group watched what the venue might look like during the actual convention. The committee members also attended a gathering Wednesday night with former Vice President Dick Cheney, who discussed the last time Kansas City hosted the GOP convention in 1976.

“I think we’ve all appreciated the sense of history, the focus on the 1976 convention,” said RNC Site Selection Committee Chairwoman Enid Mickelsen of Utah. “There is a certain symmetry there that has not been lost on us. And so we appreciate the opportunity to hear some war stories from the former vice president last night about what really happened at that convention.”

Priebus said he was also impressed with the bistate, bipartisan approach in Kansas City’s work to lure the convention. Kansas City is on the western edge of Missouri, near the Kansas border, and several Kansas groups have been included in Kansas City’s pitch for the convention.

“You’ve got two great states, Kansas and Missouri, coming together and doing everything they can to make it happen,” Priebus said.

Mayor Sly James, a Democrat, has been working to secure the convention.

“This isn’t just a big deal for Republicans,” James said. “This is a big deal for our entire city and one that we should all embrace.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide