The head of the state's Republican Party said Friday that he has been told the competition to host the 2020 Republican National Convention is down to about three cities, with Charlotte one of the strongest bids.
N.C. GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse, who is attending the Republican National Committee meeting in Miami, said he has been told by numerous national Republicans that they were impressed by the city's Democratic leadership teaming up with statewide Republicans. Woodhouse said he believed Las Vegas is a strong competitor.
CNN reported that Nevada GOP chairman Michael McDonald made a presentation this week to a site selection committee. Woodhouse said Las Vegas appears to have placed a late bid to host the RNC.
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the city of Las Vegas said they weren't aware of a bid. A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said Thursday that Republicans asked the city to bid, but it had to decline because it "doesn't have the facilities to accommodate the event."
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On Friday, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said it was surprised by the story that Las Vegas was bidding. It said it turned down the GOP with a letter earlier this year.
Las Vegas considered bidding for the 2016 RNC, but dropped out.
But the state Republican party appears to be moving forward with a bid, even if tourism officials aren't on board yet.
On Thursday, the San Antonio City Council decided in a closed session meeting not to bid.
"There's a reason that San Antonio has not pursued a political convention for the past 20 years and why so few cities seem interested in this convention," San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, citing disruptions to traffic and neighborhoods.
As San Antonio council members prepared to consider a late bid, some Democratic activists said the city shouldn't seek the RNC. They said the Trump administration's push for a border wall would damage the city's close ties with Mexico.
The bids for the RNC were originally due Feb. 28, but that deadline was pushed back.
In past years, cities have been vocal about wanting to land a political convention, which are said to be worth tens of millions in dollars in economic impact.
But this year only Charlotte and Las Vegas have said publicly they want it. Charlotte hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Woodhouse said he was told that as many as seven cities had expressed interested to the RNC, but some dropped out. He doesn't know what the other city is, though he said he has heard Texas.
A tourism official in Dallas said the RNC approached the city about bidding, but the city declined. A spokesperson for the Houston mayor's office declined to comment, but a City Council member said it had not been discussed.
"They were really impressed that a Democratic city and Democratic leaders have come together with Republicans to host the RNC," Woodhouse said.
He said the RNC will meet again in August. A decision could be made then, he said.