Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The Las Vegas RNC Host Committee has created a website as part of their push to host the Republican National Convention.

The website has a gallery, news and this video...




Ralph Reed, yes that Ralph Reed, has gone on the record about the prospect of Las Vegas hosting the 2016 Republican Nation Convention. His comments were....

“If the RNC does select Las Vegas, they’ll probably sell out every show for Donny and Marie and Garth Brooks that week,” said Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. 
Mr. Reed said the city has plenty to offer outside of the seedier activities, and it already has the stamp of approval from some organizations who make a living out of defending family values. 
Las Vegas has entertainment and recreational offerings suitable for the entire family, and the Southern Baptist Convention and other faith-based organizations have held meetings there for decades,” he said. “So while we will not advocate for any city, we do not believe it is necessary to exclude Las Vegas from the cities to be considered based on a sound and comprehensive criteria.”
 Reed is correct that not only the faith based organizations like the Southern Baptist Convention, but other right-of-center events like Right Online have hosted conferences in Las Vegas and there were few if any problems. Reed is also correct that Las Vegas, along with its surrounding area, is loaded with lots of activities for all ages.
James Smack said his sales pitch is based on the idea that Las Vegas has enough hotel rooms within two miles of the two possible convention sites to accommodate the thousands that would converge on the city, and that there are plenty of things for delegates to do, ranging from the well-known entertainment venues on the Las Vegas Strip to the nearby attractions, such as Red Rock Canyon and the Hoover Dam.
Oh by the way, the article contains this little tidbit.
Mr. Smack shrugged off the concerns about the city’s immoral side, saying that Las Vegas does not have a monopoly on bad behavior...
Very true. Any of the vices that would disqualify Las Vegas from hosting the RNC can be found within a 30 min car ride in other candidate host cities. One need only remember that in 1988 the Republican National Convention was held in New Orleans, a city well know for its wild party atmosphere.

While there is much I do not agree with Ralph Reed on I am happy to see him keep a open mind regarding the issue of site selection for the 2016 Republican National Convention. We cant keep running like its 1988 and we have to try new things.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


It appears that the host cities are poaching  talent  that becomes available from their competitors to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Cathy Nugent, who spearheaded Kansas City’s early push to land the 2016 Republican National Convention, is now working for Denver’s bid. 
Nugent was pushed off KC’s team late last year when the organizing responsibility shifted to Mayor Sly James’ office. At the time, she said she was angry, frustrated and even bewildered. 
“I’ve been the face of this,” she told The Star in December. “And now, all of a sudden, where is she?” 
Well, where she is now is a member of Denver’s convention push. The city is considered one of the early favorites. 
Republicans say Nugent, a long-time GOP organizer in the Kansas City area, signed a contract and began work for Denver in early January.


Perhaps we will be seeing more restrictive contracts for the convention host committees in the future?


Downtown Columbus on a late Summer afternoon. 

The Washington PostChris Cillizza  gives a review of each of the cities that are making bids for the 2016 Republican National Convention. It's pretty interesting to read and here is an excerpt.

Worth noting: The whole if-we-put-the-convention-there-we-will-win-the-state thing has very little evidence of actually, you know, working. Obama lost North Carolina in 2012. Ditto Mitt Romney in Florida. The last time Republicans won the state where they held their convention was way back in 1992, when Houston played host to the nominating fete: George H.W. Bush won Texas but lost the presidency to Bill Clinton.

I do not agree with everything Cillizza says regarding the cities but it is a pretty fascinating read nonetheless.


Former U.S. Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) will lead the bid to bring the 2016 Republican National Convention to Phoenix...

Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl has a new role as chair of the host committee trying to secure the 2016 Republican National Convention for Phoenix. 
Kyl, R-Ariz., served three terms in the Senate from 1995 to 2013 and rose to the rank of minority whip, the chamber’s No. 2 GOP leadership job. 
Phoenix was a finalist for the 2012 Republican convention but lost out to Tampa. Civic boosters are hoping Kyl’s influence in GOP circles and “workhorse” reputation will help seal the deal this time. 
“I don’t know that we have a really great shot, but I think we’ve got a good shot,” Kyl told The Arizona Republic on Saturday.

Via Dave Weigel takes a look at the artwork Phoenix is using to make their bid for 2016 RNC.

Monday, January 27, 2014


                                                                                                                                           STEVE MARCUS
Well according to this article the Las Vegas delegation is not being ignored in their bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, chairman of the Las Vegas 2016 committee, led a high-powered team of Republicans who made the trip to D.C. The committee had set up two sleek Wi-Fi hotspots, complete with coffee bars and several couches, in the hotel lobbies outside the RNC meeting rooms. Guests were shown videos highlighting Las Vegas’ convention-ready qualities, and they were offered gift bags with T-shirts, hats, fleece vests and mock 2016 delegation badges.
Here is one reaction from a GOP delegate to the idea of Las Vegas for the 2016 RNC.

Toni Anne Dashiell, Texas 
Preference: None, officially
          Favorite past convention site: New York 
Least favorite past convention site: Tampa.
COMMENTS: "I do like Las Vegas very much. It’s consolidated — everything is in walking distance, they have ample room, there’s just many positives. Of course you have a little bit of that negative, which is the image, but I think we could get through that." "One disadvantage in Las Vegas of course is the heat. So that’s where Denver comes in, where it’s cool. ... But it’s still a good city, and I think we’ve got great choices. It’s going to be very tough to decide."


Anne Stone talks with Luke Stancil, 16, of North Carolina (center) and Sean Harrington, 20, of Arlington, Mass. (left) at a table in the larger Las Vegas 2016 wifi lounge at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting Friday, in the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. Photo by KAROUN DEMIRJIAN

With the 2014 RNC Winter Meeting drawing to a close the Nevada delegation is felling good about their chances for hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention in Las Vegas. 

“I feel good about it. I feel like we’re in the mix,” said Ryan Erwin, a powerful consultant in Nevada and one of the many influential Nevada Republicans who flew out to the RNC’s winter meeting in D.C. to help sell Las Vegas to the assembly. “I would be surprised if we’re not a finalist, because the response has been so strong.”

Erwin, along with Las Vegas 2016 committee Chairman and Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, were moving around the meeting with an air of fatigued but certain optimism Friday, having spent the better part of three days selling the merits of Las Vegas as a convention location to anyone with a question, opinion or free five minutes.

“The RNC, when it actually convenes, there are 168 people. It's a finite group. So the ability to actually meet and befriend and have conversation time with all the members is quite easy,” Krolicki said. “We want people to understand that we’re serious, we’re earnest, we’re real, we’re in it.”

For the time being, however, the site selection process is coming down to just eight people — RNC members who were elected by their peers Friday to vet all possible candidate host cities, conduct site selection visits and, eventually, pick a 2016 host.

What makes me very happy is to see the RNC speak openly about the logistical difficulties that occurred in Tampa.

“Logistics are terribly important to folks because the most recent experience of (convention 2012 site) Tampa is still in people’s minds,” Krolicki said. 
Few RNC members the Sun spoke with last week had anything good to say about Tampa. Memories of being stuck on convention buses in the sweltering heat, sometimes for hours, are still fresh. 
“I think last time, in Florida, we were closer to Havana, Cuba, than to Tampa,” recalled Shawn Steel, national committeeman from California and an alternate to this year’s site selection committee. 
“It’s important that you have a lot of hotel rooms as close to the site of the convention as possible,” said Bruce Hough, an RNC member from Florida. “Our hotel was an hour away, and that was in our own home state.”
That sucks donkey if you ask me. For 2016 it's imperative that the RNC find a host city that has a large number of hotel rooms within walking distance of the main venue.

However, there are some who do not share the enthusiasm for Las Vegas. 

Then there's the city’s reputation.
“The concern I have with the Las Vegas bid, quite frankly, is the ad campaign …'What happens (here), stays (here),'" said Kris Warner, an RNC member from West Virginia. “There are those of us who are Christian conservatives who would say … it's the image, and what are people going to think back home?” 
Warner said he had spoken with religious leaders from Las Vegas and wasn’t ready to write off the city yet. But he worried what would happen if, say, a Republican convention attendee partook of the vices available in Las Vegas — especially if it happened in view of the media or even a cellphone that records video. People might get disillusioned with the party pretty darn quick, he suggested — and that could hurt turnout in the general election.
As I pointed out before, Right Online 2012 was held in Las Vegas to great success with little or no incidents. To be blunt, if you are a RNC delegate/official/politician and you partake in Vegas vices knowing that the press and lefties like this are waiting to pounce then we deserve to lose.

Every single vice in Vegas is available in any of the other cities in the running for the 2016 RNC. This should not be a reason to disqualify Vegas from being a finalist to host the event.

<!--[if gte mso 9]>

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Photo by Joeff Davis

The long process to land the 2016 Republican National Convention  has begun....

The Republican National Committee took steps Thursday to change how it will pick its presidential candidate in 2016, the latest effort by the national party to tighten control over the primary calendar. The motivation behind the change is simple: it’s all about the money.
In the summer of 2012, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign was cash-strapped as most of its resources were tied up until he officially became the GOP‘s nominee at the Republican National Convention, allowing the Obama campaign months to define him with a television blitz. The RNC, is looking to free up those general election dollars sooner by moving the 2016 convention to late June or mid-July.
On Thursday, the RNC’s Rules Committee, continued to ease the path for better-funded establishment candidates to avoid the type of ‘long slog’ against poorly-organized and under-funded candidates that Mitt Romney was subjected to. The latest proposals allow proportional contests to be rendered as essentially winner take all, by allowing states to set minimum thresholds for support in order to receive delegates. Changes passed at the Republican National Convention in 2012 and subsequent meetings, have clamped down on caucuses, requiring that they directly tie delegates to the convention, instead of allowing grassroots convention takeovers at state conventions.
Under the RNC’s ideal scenario, which now appears likely, the first nominating contests for Republicans in 2016 will be Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, taking place in the month of February. Painful penalties, stripping states of nearly all of their delegates, should keep other states from moving their caucuses and primaries before March 1.

Now the cities begin to lobby to be the host. 

But as the haggling got under way Wednesday, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman found himself in unfamiliar territory. Addressing Republican National Committee members, staffers, and consultants—over Ohio-brewed booze, ice cream and one of the city’s Jazz ensembles— Coleman promised the GOP a victory in the key swing-state if they held their convention in his city. “I have two guarantees,” he said. “If you have a Republican National Convention in the City of Columbus, I guarantee you it will be your best convention ever. Second, if you have the Republican National Convention in the City of Columbus, you will win the state of Ohio.”
Coleman was pressing the flesh with RNC members late into the night Wednesday. “Here’s how it works,” he said, borrowing Sin City’s famous phrase. “What happens in Columbus, ends up in the White House.”
Not to be outdone, Las Vegas proffered gifts and alcohol to the members of the RNC, sponsoring two lounges on either side of the convention hall where the body is meeting, complete with wifi and open bars. When guest arrived, the Las Vegas contingent presented them with a gift box complete with fitted fleece vest, a trucker hat, a T-shirt, and a leather folio, all embossed the convention aspirants’ official logo. Glossy collections of menus of the city’s top restaurants and spectacular images of the area’s vistas were inside. In a subtle critique of their competition, the Nevada team’s video closes on the slogan, “Las Vegas is ready. This is what we do.”
A team of staffers were still decorating the space Wednesday as the convention began, as the city’s official pitch video, heavily focused on its ability to handle such a large-scale event, played on loop. ”They’re doing it right,” said one RNC member.

One interesting thing the Vegas group  is pointing out is

On the forefront of many members’ minds is logistics. Their delegates, alternates, and state officials generally stay together as a block. In Tampa, some commuted more than an hour each way to the convention site from hotels in far-off suburbs. Las Vegas says it can host the entire convention population within a radius of one mile, a bar no other city, save New York, can hope to meet.
I wonder if someone has been reading this blog?  If not that means the Las Vegas group knows the problems that plagued Tampa and know they can do much better, and it seems they want to win.

“Las Vegas is truly the only city in the world that’s evolved to host people; we’re exceedingly good at it,” Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, said in an interview Wednesday. “This is what we do.” Krolicki is also chairman of the Las Vegas 2016 committee.
Finalists to host the 2016 convention are expected to be named in February, so for would-be host cities, the national committee winter meeting is the best opportunity to make a strong first impression.
To do so, it’s traditional for competing cities to roll out the red carpet for attendees with special receptions and cocktail hours. But this year, the Las Vegas 2016 team decided to leave the usual display of glitter, cocktails and showgirls at home. Instead of wooing by wining and dining, the home team is opting for an approach based on a concept you don’t often hear associated with Las Vegas: Subtlety.           [Edit]
But the RNC is discussing possibly moving its convention in a way that could play to Las Vegas’ favor, Krolicki said. Should the RNC move up the convention from August to July or even June, as RNC officials are currently contemplating, the convention would fall during the comparatively dry season in Las Vegas-based events — meaning the potential economic cost to resorts of doing this political business would be far less.
 And furthermore, Krolicki pointed out, though Las Vegas has long kicked around the idea of the convention and in past years, ultimately kicked it to the curb, this year, Republican officials and tourism officials are on the same page. 
Even if political differences remain among the factions of the Nevada delegation, everyone is united around the notion — to the point of clamoring for credit — that hosting a convention would be good for Las Vegas. 
The list of Republicans in tow to make the pitch to the RNC is long and connected: Among others, Krolicki is being joined by Las Vegas 2016 Chairman Jack St. Martin, Republican National Committee Regional Director Chris Carr, Republican strategists Ryan Erwin and Mike Slanker, and former Gov. Bob List.
They are working with limited time. On Friday morning, RNC members will elect eight representatives who will join former Utah Rep. Enid Mickelsen, appointed this week by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as chairwoman, to a site selection committee. Site scouting visits will likely follow in the spring.
Nevadans are not expected to be a part of the site selection committee, List said, and Krolicki insisted that the Nevada committee members and guests would not be gunning for any particular individuals to be on that nine-person committee. A final site selection is expected by late summer.
But alas not everyone is happy that Vegas is in the running. From the mightyED MORRISSEY

No doubt, Las Vegas knows how to handle big events. It’s also a place that advertises with the now-notorious slogan, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” — except it when it comes to a political convention. Other cities have plenty of opportunities to create public-relations and legal trouble for Republican delegates and officials, but no other city is so well designed for that purpose, or has the concentration of potential trouble that Las Vegas does. 
At the risk of angering the blogger gods,  I disagree with Ed's take on Vegas. Yes, Vegas does have its vices, however, EVERY city has its vices. Anyone remember how Tampa was know for its strip clubs? Where were the reports of "public-relations and legal trouble" from Tampa?

Conservatives threw a convention in Vegas once before, in 2012, it was called Right Online. 

Was there any public-relations and legal trouble" from Right Online attendees? Not that I can find (and I was there). In fact everyone had a great, not mention fun time. To be honest, Vegas was great place to hold Right Online 2012 and I wish more conservative&nbsp would hold thier conferences in Vegas, not less.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


                    A look at the stage of the 2012 Republican National Convention In Tampa, FL 

I was not at Tampa for the 2012 RNC but I talked with many people who at the event and I asked each person a set of same set of questions. I began to notice several things kept on popping up and its something worth talking about.

Now before I begin let me say clearly that hosting an event as big as a presidential nominating convention is a extremely difficult thing to pull off successfully. There are many difficult logistical and security challenges that can crush even experience show runners, dedicated staff and state of the art venue. Many said that the people of the Tampa / St. Petersburg metro area were kind and welcoming to convention attendees even when the convention was very disruptive to both the convention attendees and people alike.

So now on with countdown:


During numerous talks that I had with attendees mention that the location (Gulf Coast of Florida) AND the dates were simply not the best. When Tampa was listed as finalist in early 2010 a concern was the possibility of hurricane striking/disrupting the convention and the stifling humidity that attendees would face.   Well you can guess what happened when a storm named Issac swept on by.

Also, numerous attendees told me that the heat combines with the oppressive humidity was stifling. This was exacerbated  by the fact that attendees had to walk long distances with numerous obstacles.

This leads me to...


I heard more than once that the security arrangements for Tampa turned the downtown into a battle fortress that was very unwelcoming. It was not so much the law enforcement (who garnered well deserved praise), rather, it was high fences and concrete barriers and the chocking check points that  created that was the problem. (one attendee pointed out that these barriers w/checkpoints created large queues of people trying to get in and thus a tempting terrorist target). These barriers made what would normally be short walks long marathons in the stifling heat and humidity.

The key to make an event like this work is have short walks between the main venue, satellite venues and the hotels. Well that is not what happened.

This brings us to...


A delegate told me that their hotel was a 60 min bus ride away from the main convention venue. The combination of check points, street closures and high barricades made it a slog to get to and from the convention and satellite events. A bit stunned that delegates would be that far away I looked at a map of downtown Tampa and here is what I saw.

    Not enough hotels near the actual venue and those that are are killer walks in the heat and humidify of late August. 

There are only about 10 hotels in acceptable walking distance from the venue. But even of these 10 the walk would be about 30 mins from six of the hotels on the map. (you got to add stoplights and many people do not walk fast) This walk would be a long hard slog in the heat and humidity of Florida's late August and a nightmare if rained.   When you add the barriers, check points and street closures anyone who has a mobility issue is in for a difficult time.

So what have we learned?

1. Host the 2012 RNC in late June or early July. This will avoid the hurricane disruption issue and give the nominee a good springboard to campaign in the summer.

2. Let's have good security not oppressive security. Yes you want to have visible security presence but at the same time barriers can be hidden and made to look good not intimidating.

3. Hotels must be no more than 30 bus ride away from the venue. Attendees and Delegates need be to doing their thing not sitting on buses trying to get from place to another.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus must find a city that meets the above criteria in his search for the host city in 2016. Over the next few weeks we are going to take a look at some of the cities that are vying to host the convention and hope that 2016 will not be a repeat of 2012.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Denver, CO, which hosted the 2008 Democrat National Convention, has officially begun its bid to land the 2016 Republican Convention. 

DENVER - Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is supporting a campaign by Colorado Republicans to bring the 2016 national GOP convention to Denver.
The Denver Post reported Thursday that Hickenlooper's spokesman confirmed he would back the bid.
Here is what The Denver Post reported.

Top Republicans have coalesced around a plan to bid for Denver to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, and they say they also have enlisted the help of two top Democratic political leaders in Colorado.
GOP supporters of the effort said Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, both Democrats, are on board to co-chair the bid, but Hancock's office said he was still considering the extent of his involvement.
"We have strong support from the offices of Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock," said Ryan Call, the chairman of the state's Republican Party.
Denver hosted the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which local political and business leaders viewed as a success. As then-mayor of Denver, Hickenlooper played a key role in raising about $60 million to bring the Democratic convention to Denver.
Say what you will about Barack Obama presidency, but I will be the first to tell you that the 2008 DNC was a well run event and was the perfect way for Obama to take the nomination. (Many people do not remember since Sen. John McCain announcement of Sarah Palin as his V.P. nominee made the Denver DNC be forgotten) While it is unknown who the finalists for the 2016 RNC will be it is safe to say that Denver, having hosted a well run and successful event, is a top tier candidate to make it to the final round.  

Something that the RNC can't ignore has been the success of conservative grass roots in the recent recall of Democrat State Senators, along with the possibility that Republicans could retake the Govenor's mansion in 2014.

UP NEXT: Tampa. The Good, Bad and Butt-Ugly!