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October 23, 2014

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Las Vegas one of eight finalists for GOP convention

Updated Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 | 8:03 a.m.

Las Vegas is on a short list of eight cities still in the running for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

In a tweet this morning, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced the eight cities that will vie for the honor of being host for the quadrennial GOP gathering.

In addition to Las Vegas, the eight cities are Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City and Phoenix.

The announcement pits Nevada's most famous city against a group of other Western and swing-state contenders for the next few months as they try to convince members of the RNC Site Selection committee they are best equipped to house, transport and entertain the 50,000 or so attendees expected to turn out for the GOP's big event.

Las Vegas, which proposed hosting the actual convention events in the Las Vegas Convention Center, pitched itself to the RNC as a city uniquely able to host a convention -- the city already sees 22,000 per year -- and provide hotel rooms in close proximity to all the official meetings and unofficial attractions that attendees would want to take advantage of in their three- to four-day convention trip. Las Vegas also had to prove that it would be able to raise the $50 million-$70 million necessary to host a convention. There were few doubts in the RNC that Las Vegas would be able to clear that hurdle last month, when the Las Vegas 2016 came to Washington, D.C., to present themselves at the RNC's winter meeting.

The next round of the competition begins in earnest Monday, when host cities will have a chance to present their bids to the RNC's Site Selection committee in Washington.

The committee will then determine which of the finalist cities will merit a site visit during the spring. Site selectors are expected to narrow their finalist selections down to one bid they can endorse by summer -- though site selection chairwoman Enid Mickelson of Utah suggested to the Salt Lake Tribune last week that the committee might buck tradition, and name two potential bid cities as their final picks, leaving it up to the full RNC to vote on an ultimate winner.

The Washington Post reported two cities, Charlotte and Salt Lake City, were thought to be in the running for the convention but did not make today's cut.

-- Check back later at lasvegassun.com for more on this breaking news story.

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