It's not quite March Madness yet, but the Republican Party has already picked out it's own Elite Eight. The Republican National Committee announced Thursday eight cities will vie for the chance to host the GOP's 2016 convention.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced the news on Twitter. The eight nominees are: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
And the competition is already heating up. Several nominees have put together some pretty swanky promotional videos highlighting the positive aspects of their cities. (Via Vimeo / Las Vegas 2016, YouTube / Kansas City, YouTube / Denver)
There's good reason for that competitiveness: Hosting a national convention can be a huge financial boon for a city. USA Today notes the economic impact of the 2012 Republican convention was about $404 million for its host city, Tampa.
So of the eight cities, which one's most likely to secure the convention?
Right now the frontrunner seems to be Las Vegas, home of GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson. A Vegas spokesman told ABC: "Everybody knows Vegas can throw a party. ... We can offer a product, logistically, that no one can match."
But the GOP's decision isn't just about having a good time. The party also has politics to consider — which is likely why three of the eight cities are in the battleground state of Ohio, which the Democrats narrowly won in 2012. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Gage)
In a statement to The Plain Dealer, Ohio's Republican party chairman said: "The road to the White House runs through Ohio. It is the ultimate battleground state. ... Bringing [the convention] here would put our candidate and Party's message directly in front of voters."
Further complicating matters is the RNC's decision to move its convention up a few months into early summer — which could create a conflict for several cities.
The Washington Post notes, "Playoffs for both the NBA and the NHL will be happening by then, and no owner will willingly give up his arena, and the revenue a playoff game generates, for the six weeks it takes to build the stage on which an eventual nominee will accept his or her party's nomination."
The eight cities will present their formal bids to the GOP's selection committee March 3, and the party is expected to make its decision by early fall.