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Denver In Final 4 For 2016 RNC
By Jon Murray
ColoradoRepublicans rejoiced Thursday at news that Denver still is in the hunt to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, making the cut for a larger-than-expected short list.But that hopefulness was tempered by a recognition that Denver faces some strong competitors: Dallas, Cleveland and Kansas City, Mo.Financing may be the biggest hurdle, and observers and insiders say Denver has plenty left to raise.“There’s no better place to be an American in the summer than Denver, Colo.,” said Dick Wadhams, a former Colorado GOP chairman. “But the money question will really come into play in the final analysis.”Thursday’s short list had been expected to winnow the competitors from six cities down to three. But after Las Vegas and Cincinnati withdrew this week, in part because both lacked arenas that meet the Republican National Committee’s specifications, the Site Selection Committee voted to visit each of the remaining cities.A sprawling delegation of committee members and other party officials will visit Denver on June 9-11, staying longer than technical staffers did during a single-day visit in April. They’ll kick the tires of the Pepsi Center and other convention venues.City and party officials expect to play up the compactness of downtown, with many hotels and amenities within walking distance of the arena. Denver’s growing transit system is scheduled to include a rail line from the airport to downtown in 2016.Those strengths set Denver apart from some of the other finalists, observers and insiders say, and contrasts with Republicans’ memories of a sprawling convention hotel map in Tampa, Fla., in 2012 that resulted in transportation nightmares.Tour leaders also will play on the city’s record in hosting the 2008 Democratic National Convention, one of Denver’s biggest selling points.“We feel really good about where we are,” said bid committee chairman Pete Coors, a former Republican U.S. Senate candidate, at Coors Brewery in Golden. “We know what we have here — how beautiful our city and our state are.”Said Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who has supported the Republican bid: “Denver has a strong reputation for hosting successful world-class events, and we look forward to the opportunity to show off our beautiful city once again.”But aside from the selling points of delegate experience While it’s off to a good start — raising pledges that total just over half of the expected $20 million local commitment, bid leaders say — the goalpost, including eventual national contributions, is $55 million to $60 million.In Tampa, the host committee’s fundraising struggles went down to the wire, frustrating Republican leaders who have made clear they don’t want that to happen again.Dallas, meanwhile, is sitting pretty.It raised — by March — more than Denver has so far. On top of that, the city expects to tap $25 million from a Texas major-events fund that would collect sales and tourist taxes generated by the four-day event. That puts Dallas’ financing well over $40 million, and growing.“I think finances are going to be a hurdle for every city,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat who has worked the phones to help raise money. “You are talking $60 million that will have to be raised. I believe we’ll do it again.”For the Democratic convention, Denver’s host committee raised $60.9 million in cash and in-kind donations.Again, the stakes are high: The GOP convention will attract the attention, prestige and dollars that come with hosting as many as 50,000 visitors and VIPs. Denver’s primary convention hall would be the Pepsi Center, although some events might be at the Colorado Convention Center and Coors Field.In 2008, Democrats also based out of the Pepsi Center. But the night of then-candidate Barack Obama’s formal nomination was moved to Invesco Field, now Sports Authority Field at Mile High, for a massive televised event.That history — the spectacle, and Obama’s splash amid Greek columns — could work against Denver with some Republicans, said political analyst Floyd Ciruli.“I think the two bigger states are the front-runners,” he said. “That is to say, Ohio and Texas.”Ciruli sees Texas as a chance to showcase Republican policies in a deep-red state, while Ohio offers a larger swing state than Colorado to drive home the party’s economic revitalization prescriptions.The full Republican National Committee is set to make the final hosting decision in late summer or fall .Before then, the RNC says, the committee could cut the list further.-
Other factors the party will consider include scheduling, since they want to kick off the convention earlier than usual. Denver’s and Dallas’ professional hockey and basketball teams potentially could tie up their arenas into June, past the time Republicans might need full access for weeks of prep work. Officials want the convention to take place in June or July.Another potential wildcard: Colorado’s legal marijuana notoriety.But Colorado party leaders and observers, and some insiders nationally, say Denver seems to sit in a strong position. Its downtown is bigger than Kansas City’s, and although Cleveland also boasts swing-state status, Denver enjoys a reputation for more vibrancy.Thursday’s reactions were rife with lots of speculation, though. Ultimately, RNC officials say, all four still have a shot.“All cities excelled in nearly every aspect of their bids and presentation this year, but these four cities stood out from the field from the start of this process and deserve a deeper look by the full committee,” site committee chairwoman Enid Mickelsen said in a statement.
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My name is RaNae Urso and I specialize in residential sales and buyer representation in the Denver Metro area. I have been in the real estate business over 14 years of my 30 years in Colorado. I enjo....
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