CLEVELAND - Several members of the RNC Site Selection Committee including Chair Enid Mickelsen returned to Cleveland on Monday to see for themselves how the city could pull off a June, 2016 convention despite NBA restrictions if the Cavs reach the finals.
Their visit comes exactly two years to the day before the Republican nominee would accept the nomination June 30, 2016, if they were able to pull that date off.
When Cleveland and Dallas were announced as finalists last week it was thought that a June convention would be off the table because of the NBA restrictions both cities must deal with if their teams reach the finals.
The GOP would like six weeks to convert the arena into a convention site, the finals could last into the second week of June.
But Cleveland, in its pitch, made a convincing argument that they could pull off the conversion in time for a June 27 start and GOP leaders returned Monday to take a closer look.
Dallas, which has the added restrictions placed on their arena by the NHL as well is sticking with its plans to offer a July 18-21, 2016 convention.
From the first Republican National Convention in 1856 until 1948 every convention was held in June with the exception of two that were held in May. Since the 1948 gathering in Philadelphia every Republican convention has been in July or August with the 2008 convention starting in September.
The 2012 RNC which was staged in Tampa August 27-30, 2012 marked the end of a very long political season Republican leaders felt and gave their nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan little time to mount their general election campaign.
“This is part of another overall picture we’re trying to get to at the Republican National Committee which is to get our primary selection process under control,” said RNC Chair Reince Priebus when the bids were first presented in March.
A primary process that is starting earlier and getting uglier.
“I think you know that we took a six month slice and dice festival in our party and we’re shortening that time period that allows candidates a reasonable amount of time to make their case to the American people but does it I think in a more timely fashion,” he said.
It also does something else, remember that Republicans have not won a state where they've staged a convention since 1992. Priebus said in March that a June convention would may help by building in a state like Ohio on what the party would be bringing to Ohio.
"If we start early enough could you parlay volunteerism within Ohio or Nevada or Missouri in a way that would give us a better opportunity where in the past maybe we didn't do a good enough job in that regard," he said.
Dallas is not receiving a second technical visit but RNC officials said not to read anything into that.
While the full RNC will vote on the committee's recommended site, that city will likely be named in advance of the August RNC meeting in Chicago, according to RNC Spokesman Ryan Mahoney, so negotiations could begin with the winning city.