Could Charlotte do for Republicans in 2016 what it did for Democrats in 2012?
The Republican National Committees meeting in Charlotte this week has fueled speculation that the GOP might return for its national convention in four years.
Its always a possibility, GOP Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday at the Westin hotel. North Carolina was good to us. And its a red state all the more reason to look at Charlotte.
Neither party has begun the process of choosing its 2016 convention sites. A Republican spokeswoman said the party will begin seeking requests from cities later this year and site selection would begin in 2014.
Republicans named Tampa, Fla., as the site of their 2012 convention in 2010. Democrats picked Charlotte in 2011.
Septembers convention brought an estimated 30,000 people to Charlotte, with an economic impact of $150 million. But the host committee struggled to raise money. As of October, it was $12.5 million short of its $36.6 million goal. New reports are due next week.
As Charlotte well knows, its a huge lift on behalf of city government (and) the citizens, said Sean Spicer, the RNCs communications director. Theyve proven they can do it well. Its just a question of if they want to do it again so soon.
Charlotteans first lobbied for the GOP 2000 convention. They formed a nonprofit called Carolinas 2000, only to see the party ultimately choose Philadelphia.
At the time skeptics still questioned whether Charlotte could handle a national convention. Last year Democrats showed it could.
Spicer and Priebus got a look at the city during the Democratic convention. They ran a rapid response center in an office next to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Democratic Mayor Anthony Foxx, who helped lead the push for his partys convention, has pledged to help pursue a Republican gathering.
It took Democrats and Republicans working together to pull off the 2012 DNC and it will take working together to bring the RNC, he said Wednesday. For Charlotte and North Carolina, leaving politics aside, it is good economics.
The city was expected to be featured Wednesday night in a video produced by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. More than 160 RNC members were scheduled to see it at a reception at the NASCAR Hall of Fame hosted by Gov. Pat McCrory but closed to media.
Chamber President Bob Morgan said hes waiting for a report on the economic impact of the Democratic convention by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. That report is expected this month.
We need to see that and have a conversation, he said.
Though no one was expected to make a formal pitch for the convention this week, Ada Fisher, one of North Carolinas two committee members, said shell talk up the idea.
If Charlotte would like to have it, it would be a good thing for North Carolina to have, said the Salisbury Republican. Especially given the fact that our governor is now from Charlotte and a Republican.
Voters made McCrory the first Republican governor in 20 years, expanded GOP majorities in the legislature and helped Republicans pick up three congressional seats all potential selling points for a GOP convention in Charlotte.
Id love it in the South, said committee member Cindy Costa of Charleston. Im kind of a big proponent of rewarding states that voted for us.
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