The Pros and Cons of Every City That’s a Finalist for Hosting the 2016 Republican Convention

On Thursday, the RNC named its top eight finalists to host the Republican National Convention in 2016. Dozens of cities submitted bids, but now the real battle begins. The contenders are: cities in Ohio (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus); desert cities often avoided in summer (Las Vegas, Phoenix); and red-state cities that are almost guaranteed to be safe from hurricanes (Kansas City and Dallas).

Right now, the bachelor party convention seems to be Las Vegas’s to lose. “Other than Vegas, you can’t find a state that has vocal supporters from other states,” said a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party to the Washington Post. “There’s a pretty broad consensus that Las Vegas is the most logical choice.”

Sure, the lures of Sin City may be hard to resist, but each place has its pros and cons as a potential 2016 convention host. Below, what the GOP should consider when weighing the options.


Pro: It’s in Ohio, the “ultimate” swing state. Ohio spurned the Republicans in 2012 and 2008, and Karl Rove might do something rash on election night if the GOP doesn’t win Ohio this time.

Con: Whoever is on the presidential ticket is going to spend about every other week in Ohio until November. Ohio might be sick of the candidate by then. Also, if hosted in the same arena, is the Cavs’ bad luck transferable?


Pro: This is Texas. Everyone will be happy to see the Republicans.

Con: Whether he’s about to accept a GOP presidential nomination or not, welcome to the 2016 Ted Cruz Convention.


Pro: Denver has really been killing the Republicans in recent elections, helping to turn a red state blue. A convention in Denver might rev the Party base by showing Colorado the GOP is not giving up. Plus, it’s a chance to see firsthand how the whole legal marijuana thing is working.

Con: Denver gave out Coors Light as part of their convention pitch. Do better, Denver.


Pro: It’s in Ohio.

Con: Apparently, Cincy Republicans included some yet-to-be-built streetcars as part of their convention plan to the RNC. Didn’t they learn anything from Sochi? 

Kansas City

Pro: The last time the GOP convention was held in Kansas City, Reagan lost the nomination to Ford, but his famous concession speech invoked the image of America as that “shining city on a hill.” That line is fair game, and any chance to bring up Reagan, we’ll take. 

Con: Someone, we don’t know who yet, but someone, is going to thank the people of Kansas.


Pro: It’s in Ohio.

Con: If the GOP picks a lower-tier Ohio city, would it be too tragically obvious how much they care about Ohio?


Pro: Arizona is a political hotbed of late. There’s the recent controversy over Arizona’s anti-gay bill, which even Republican leaders spoke out against. And the big issue: immigration. This is the GOP’s chance to put forward a serious plan and show the people of Arizona, and the country, that they can be the party of the many, not the few.

Con: Wait a second, what? Who said we’re talking about immigration?

Las Vegas

Pro: The city has never hosted a national convention and, while there may be ample reasons why both parties have avoided it, there’s no time like the present! Plus, a Nevada brothel has promised discretion to visiting GOPers.

Con: Oh boy, what kind of high jinks are these folks going to get into? Is it really a good idea to let some conservatives, who, on occasion, try to legislate morality, loose in Sin City? Is it a good idea for the party with that whole “47 percent” issue last time around to set up shop in a city of excesses? No! But Las Vegas is so winning this, and we’re about to find out how many Hangover references one convention can hold.

RNC Names 2016 Convention Finalists