Las Vegas wants to host 2016 GOP convention

(Reno Gazette Journal) Nevada is making a play for a key role in the 2016 presidential race, but not just as a swing state.

Las Vegas wants to host the next Republican National Convention, and state and city leaders have launched their campaign to get the GOP and its delegates to come to Sin City in 2016. Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who is leading the effort, unveiled the Las Vegas 2016 website and Twitter feed on Tuesday.

“The 2016 GOP convention will be one of the largest and most significant events of its kind,” reads the website message, which pops up in front of a desert picture. “Las Vegas will provide the world-class facilities, accommodations, infrastructure, dining and entertainment options to make the 2016 convention like no other. We are the #1 convention destination in North America. This is what we do.”

Political conventions are a big-money deal, given the thousands of people who come to take part in the nominating event and the journalists who cover the proceedings. The 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa had an estimated economic impact of about $404.4 million, according to a University of Tampa study, and drew about 50,000 people to the city.

It’s never too early for a city to get its convention bid in order. The RNC set up a site selection committee in 2009 - three years ahead of the convention year - and settled on Tampa in March 2010. Democrats, meanwhile, narrowed their 2012 site to four in June 2010, and first lady Michelle Obama announced in February 2011 that Charlotte would host the 2012 convention.

Nevada and Las Vegas would be an interesting choice for Republicans, from a political standpoint. Brian Sandoval, a Republican who also happens to be Latino, was elected governor of Nevada in 2010 and is considered a rising GOP star.

Las Vegas, which has never hosted a political convention, is also home to casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who was the single biggest political donor of the 2012 elections. Adelson has hosted GOP events at The Venetian, his hotel on the famous Vegas Strip, including one of the 2012 Republican presidential primary debates.

Kansas City, Mo., is also interested in hosting the 2016 GOP convention. “Kansas City deserves to be in that spotlight,” Mayor Sly James wrote in a blog post in August.