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Denver 2016 committee confident as RNC visits

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DENVER -- Backers of Denver's bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention welcomed the RNC's site-selection committee to Denver Monday afternoon for a two-day visit that will go a long way toward deciding whether the city is awarded the convention later this summer or fall.

Denver 2016 Committee Chairman Pete Coors and Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call rolled out the welcome mat, greeting RNC Chairman Reince Preibus and the two-dozen or so location scouts at their gates, adoring airport signs with their slogan--"Go West"--and even getting Mayor Michael Hancock to record a special greeting for them to hear on the trains from the airport concourses to the main terminal.

But they're stopping well short of setting off fireworks, as Kansas City did last week when the committee visited, and the only "celebrity" playing a role during this 48-hour recruiting trip is Thunder, the Broncos' mascot.

"This is a business meeting," Coors told reporters at the airport. "Razzle-dazzle isn't part of our agenda."

During a press conference above the south security checkpoint, Coors and Call bragged about Denver's temperate summertime climate, improvements to DIA and expanded light rail to the airport, a vibrant downtown and expanded hotel capacity for the 50,000 expected convention attendees.

They also noted that the Denver 2016 committee has raised $11 million to date, more than halfway to its original goal of $20 million total; and they've raised the money without taxpayer dollars, which are propping up competing bids in other cities.

"We've said we're going to do this because the community wants it," Coors said. "It's a broad based effort."

After a welcome reception Monday night, the committee will tour the Pepsi Center, where the bulk of the convention would likely be held, and Coors Field on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the committee departs for Dallas, the fourth city it'll visit and, many believe, Denver's main competition.

Recognizing that political calculations aren't among the top five host city criteria outlined by Priebus, Coors and Call couldn't help noting that Colorado is a far more relevant state in presidential election years.

"I don't think Republicans need to be too worried about winning Texas or Kansas with respect to the next presidential election," Call said.