Columbus is host to the National Hockey League All Star game this week-end. The NHL showcase will bring thousands fans and visitors to the city as well as international media attention.
Columbus Loses Bid To Host Republican National Convention
Ohioâ€™s hopes for one of the two major party presidential conventions in 2016 have dwindled slightly. Columbus has been eliminated from consideration but Cleveland and Cincinnati remain in the running.
Democratic Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson called a press conference shortly after the Republican National Committee announced the city had made the first cut to host its convention, saying heâ€™d gotten a very brief phone call with the news that Cleveland was among the six cities still under consideration.
â€œThis second phase is one where they send in a technical team, I guess, to validate whether or not what we have asserted in our application is correct. We make it through this round and weâ€™ll go through to the third round which is a full site visit,” says Jackson.
City leaders said they were optimistic to have made it this far. That was the sentiment in Cincinnati as well, expressed by Democratic Mayor John Cranley.
â€œWe are excited as all can be that we are a finalist for this convention, and we will do everything we can to convince the National Republican Party to pick Cincinnati,â€ says Cranley.
But as officials in northeast and southwest Ohio celebrated, those in the central part of the state were downcast. Democratic Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman got the bad news in a phone call just after a press conference, and he said it appeared that issues with transportation may have hurt Columbusâ€™ bid.
â€œFolks coming to the city, getting right downtown or to Easton or the Ohio State University, need to have good public transportation. So we’ve got to look at COTA and we’ve got to look at light rail to downtown,” says Coleman.
Southwest Ohio is strongly Republican. While Cleveland is solidly Democratic, leaders donâ€™t feel that will hurt their chances. Itâ€™s thought that Las Vegas is the frontrunner, though. Whichever community is selected to host the convention will have to raise at least $50 million, but some studies have shown the return on that investment could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The RNCâ€™s next announcement is expected in late May. Democrats have approached all three cities about their 2016 convention, and Coleman says Columbus is making a strong push to campaign for that convention. While Ohio has played a key role in the last several presidential contests, Ohio hasnâ€™t hosted a major party convention since 1936.