Denver 1 of 4 finalists to host RNC; Las Vegas, Cincinnati withdraw

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The Pepsi Center.

The Pepsi Center.

DENVER — Another round of cuts for cities hoping to host the 2016 Republican National Convention was made Thursday, and Denver remained in the running.

An official announcement from the GOP was issued shortly after 1:30 p.m. indicated Denver was one of four cities selected as finalists.

In addition to the Mile High City, Cleveland, Dallas and Kansas City, Mo. are still under consideration. All four cities will receive a visit by the full RNC site selection delegation in June.

“These four cities stood out from the field from the start of this process and deserve a deeper look by the full committee,” RNC chairwoman Enid Mickelsen said following the announcement.

The RNC committee also indicated that Cincinnati and Las Vegas had both withdrawn their bids to host the RNC as of Thursday.

The Pepsi Center would be main site in Denver for the convention, which will be held in the summer. Coors Field and the Colorado Convention Center would also have roles in the four-day event, which formally nominates the party’s presidential candidate.

“With our gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountains and welcoming Western attitude, we believe there is no city better equipped or more excited to the host the Republican National Convention,” Denver 2016 Chairman Pete Coors said in a statement. “Our broad coalition of business, civic and political leaders have worked hard to show the Site Selection Committee why Denver is the perfect choice for the 2016 Republican National Convention, and we look forward to continuing this effort as we advance in this exciting new phase.”

Denver was the successful host of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Since 1900, Cincinnati and Las Vegas are the only cities among the six to have not hosted a Republican or Democratic convention, though Cincinnati hosted the Democrats in 1856. Concerns about the arenas in both cities reportedly felled each respective city’s hopes of hosting the 2016 convention.

Kansas City has hosted three conventions since 1900 (Democrats in 1900, and Republicans in 1928 and 1976). Cleveland hosted Republicans in 1924 and 1936. And Dallas was home for the Republican Convention in 1984.

Denver also was host to the Democratic Convention in 1908 as well as 2008.

One unique element of the Denver bid: support from top office-holders including Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock, both of whom are Democrats.

Hickenlooper and Hancock, both of whom were involved in Denver’s RNC pitch, are both quoted in Thursday’s press release from the Colorado GOP.

“Denver has a strong reputation for hosting successful world-class events, and we look forward to the opportunity to show off our beautiful city once again,” Hancock said. “The city’s track record, numerous downtown accommodations and terrific summer weather make Denver an excellent choice to host the RNC in 2016.”

Hickenlooper added: “We’re thrilled and grateful to hear this news, but not entirely surprised.  After all, Denver is a thriving city and has the almost unfair advantage of being in Colorado, a place of unparalleled natural splendor. With over 300 days of sunshine and the world’s greatest outdoor playground just a short ride way, no other city but Denver can offer the combination of convenience and experience that we can.”

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