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December 19, 2014

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Politics:

With its bid in to host the 2016 GOP convention, Las Vegas team goes to D.C. to press its case

The next round of the competition to host the 2016 Republican National Convention begins Monday when the Las Vegas team comes to the nation's capital to make an in-person pitch to site selectors.

“It will allow us to highlight those things we feel compelled to,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, chairman of the Las Vegas host committee. “And it will also allow them to ask some questions that may not be apparent or included (in printed materials).”

Las Vegas submitted its official response to the Republican National Committee’s request for proposals last week. Nevada’s biggest city is one of eight host finalists — the others are Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; and Phoenix.

That list will likely be winnowed further in coming weeks as site selectors determine which cities will receive site visits, with the goal of identifying a short list by June.

“It’s nice to finally know the competition,” Krolicki said. “I don’t think there are surprises there … but now we know who’s serious and who’s in this.

“We’re excited, and we’re proud of what we have, from infrastructure to hotel rooms to venue to transportation plans to security issues. We think we’re the whole deal. … I don’t think there’s any city in the world that is better capable of handling any type of convention, and certainly this one.”

Krolicki wouldn’t describe or share the materials included in Las Vegas’ official response to the request for proposals, but he joked at the enormity of it by calling it “a very substantive and expensive FedEx.” Bidding cities were required to submit electronic and hard copies to site selectors.

Generally, though, Las Vegas' bid included hotel pricing, room designations, union contracts, financing, and security provisions for attendees and presidential contenders.

Las Vegas has received generally positive feedback to its candidacy as a host city from members of the RNC based on its initial highlighting of the ease and fun of a convention in Las Vegas. Krolicki called the positive response “comforting” and “flattering.”

Many political watchers have put Las Vegas atop of the list of likely 2016 hosts based on the proximity of hotel rooms to the Las Vegas Convention Center and the accessibility and availability of entertainment options. But bidders know there's more to it — that the decision will also come down to how well the city presents itself as able to handle the nitty-gritty of the convention.

“The site selection committee will go through a process that they themselves are creating,” Krolicki said. “We respect whatever process the chairman wants to pursue. … All we can do is to answer their questions, show off what we’ve got and make sure they understand the incredible advantages that Las Vegas offers.”

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