Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 | 2 a.m.
When it comes to barbecue, sports teams and fancy arenas, Kansas City may have a leg up on Las Vegas.
But as Republicans begin the process of deciding where to hold their next national convention — an event that is as much about the image of the party as anything else — Las Vegas has a few legs up on our Midwestern counterpart.
Here’s a look at some comparisons of the two cities:
Kansas City has got us here — but barely. According to Forbes’ list of the most wealthy Americans, Kansas’ oil and chemical magnates Charles and David Koch are tied for fourth-richest with personal wealth of $34 billion. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson — Las Vegas’ own —was ranked No. 12 with assets worth $26.5 billion.
OK, here’s one the RNC might want to disregard. According to Wikipedia, Kansas City certainly has the more politically appealing name for image-conscious Republicans. A convention in the “Heart of America” may be a better selling point. But wouldn’t it be more fun to campaign in “Sin City?”
While Las Vegas can’t seem to wrangle a financing package for a state-of-the-art arena, Kansas City’s got the $276 million Sprint Center. It seats 19,000 people and has 72 suites — a handy feature for those private convention parties. Las Vegas? Well, we’ve got the 32-year-old Thomas & Mack Center, which seats 18,000.
Don’t mess with Las Vegas when it comes to hotel rooms. In most cities, conventioneers are fighting tooth and nail for a room close to the site. Often they’re stuck in a suburban Motel 6, rather than a Four Seasons across the street from the convention hall. Not so in Las Vegas. The city is home to 150,000 rooms, most of them concentrated on the Strip. The Kansas City metro area has a paltry 26,000 rooms.
Republicans seem to have been saddled with the stodgy old white guy image for a while now. No offense to older Caucasian gentlemen, but they don’t comprise 50 percent of the electorate. If Republicans are looking for a younger, more diverse image, Nevada is the place hands down. Kansas is 78 percent white, compared with Nevada’s 53 percent. Kansas City is more diverse than the state, however, with a Hispanic population rivaling that of Las Vegas and a larger African-American population. But what about Missouri, you might ask. The city, after all, is technically in both states. Well, Missouri's not that diverse either with a population that is 81 percent white.
Las Vegas wins this category hands down, with McCarran International Airport handling four times the passenger traffic as Kansas City International.
In Las Vegas, you can drink all night. In Kansas City, better pull out your GPS. If you’re in Kansas, your bar will likely close at 2 a.m. If you’re in Missouri, your bar could close at 1:30 a.m. However, some bars have a special permit to stay open until 3 a.m. Booze has always been a big part of political conventions — Republicans included — so closing time could be a factor.