Cincinnati was recently named to a shortlist of potential 2016 Republican National Convention host cities, and a coalition of local politicians and business leaders held a press conference on City Hall’s front steps on April 2 to praise the city’s recent progress and its potential to host such an influential — and economically impactful — event.
“We are excited as all can be that we are a finalist,” Mayor John Cranley said.
Cranley touted Cincinnati’s progress as a group effort, and speakers praised Cincinnati’s reinvigorated vibrancy, walkability and lodgings.
The Republican National Committee’s Selection Committee will now schedule a visit to analyze financing, convention venues, media workspace and hotels.
Cranley says he will show off Smale Riverfront Park, Fountain Square, Washington Park and the Gateway District to the selection committee, which expects to arrive by early May.
Showing off restaurants and entertainment will be key, as 75 percent of the 50,000 visitors estimated to reach the city do not actually go into the convention, which would be held at U.S.
Bank Arena. Those visitors could bring $200 million into the local economy.
John Barrett, president and CEO of Western & Southern Financial Group, has been one of the biggest mouthpieces for the convention campaign, having recently traveled to Washington D.C. to pitch Cincinnati to the RNC.
“We think it’s a great compliment,” Barrett said during the announcement.
Barrett led the charge on Capitol Hill last month during Cincinnati’s bid by touting its walkability and deep pockets with a history of supporting Republicans. He cited the 45243 zip code — primarily Indian Hill — as one of the top contributors to the Republican Party. He also emphasized the nine Fortune 500 companies in the Cincinnati area. Columbus, Ohio and Phoenix were cut from the initial collection of eight bids for the convention. Cincinnati is still alive along with Cleveland, Las Vegas, Dallas, Kansas City, Mo., and Denver.The selection committee will return later in spring to those cities that survive another round of cuts, and by fall it will chose one.