Site Selection Committee picks Cleveland for final round as 2016 RNC convention decision looms

CLEVELAND - Three weeks after the Republican National Convention's Site Selection Committee left town, they have decided Cleveland makes the final round along with Dallas.

Kansas City and Denver were eliminated.

"Where we stand today validates our ability to host a major convention," said Host Committee Chair Terry Egger. "We want to make sure we put it across the finish line and finish first."

Mayor Frank Jackson said he received the call Wednesday afternoon from the RNC. "Congratulations you're one of two finalists and we'll be there early next week to do some technical visit and we'll let you know what needs to be done as a follow up."

Egger said those stops will likely include Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field, taking a closer look at how the facilities work together. "We are going to work with the RNC, we’re going to see what their needs are. We’ve been a great partner thus far but we want to prove that this city will execute on everything’s that’s important to them."

The Cleveland Host Committtee thanked everyone but especially the people of Cleveland whose passion to host the convention was something the RNC Site Selection Committee felt when they made their visit earlier this month.

Committee Co-Chair and Eaton CEO Sandy Cutler said that's what makes Cleveland the ideal place to stage this convention.  "What a wonderful statement for a political party to hold its convention in a diverse city and region like Cleveland," said Cutler.

"The ethnic background of this city is very much what the ethnic background of our country is and if you want to make a statement about putting a political process in a place that really reflects the face of America come to Cleveland," he said.  "We tried to stress to them if they’d honor us with a decision we’ll take care of the logistics, we’ll take care of the fundraising because Cleveland gets things done."

Members of the committee reviewed the facilities, amenities and logistics each city provided as well as any additional information the cities presented over the last two weeks before taking their vote.

The RNC Site Selection Committee's vote is the next step before selecting a city to recommend to the full Republican National Committee during August's meeting in Chicago.

The full committee, made up of three members from each state, will then vote on that recommendation.

The convention will start on July 18.

When they toured Cleveland during the first week of June, RNC officials offered nothing but praise for the city. 

"I’m just totally impressed with Cleveland," said Reince Priebus, adding he knew he would be based on the reaction of the technical committee that visited the city in April.

"The technical team came back and said 'guys you gotta check this out. Cleveland has really done an incredible job,'" he said.

Site Selection Chair Enid Mickelsen said the buildings were impressive, but the committee found so much more than bricks and mortar in Cleveland, they found heart.

“Lots of cities have the technical requirements as far as an arena and enough work space and that kind of thing. At this point what we are looking for is a city that wants us, that’s willing to work hard at it, that recognizes that this is a long term commitment," said Mickelsen.

"I mean for the next two and a half years we’ve got to be working hand in glove and you have some remarkable people. Anything that we’ve asked about we’ve gotten, all of the information that we asked for and more back. There’s been a lot of innovative thinking things that haven’t been suggested at other convention sites before," she said.

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