Dallas preparing bid for 2016 Republican Convention

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 12:18 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 12:40 AM

DALLAS — The city's Convention and Visitors Bureau said it is racing to prepare a bid for Dallas to host the 2016 Republican National Convention before the deadline to submit next Wednesday.

"The logistics of putting something together like this are right up there with the Super Bowl," said CVB executive vice president Matthew Jones. "They take over an incredible amount of space. A lot of people come to town. They're using a lot of facilities and venues. We would expect you'd see restaurants bought out all over the city."

Between 13,000 and 15,000 delegates would attend, Jones said, but thousands of others would follow.

Organizers are trying to recruit a host committee. They sent a letter out last Friday signed by former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican; and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who is a Democrat.

“When Dallas last hosted the convention in 1984, the city committee included prominent Democrats and civic leaders, as well as Republicans,” the two wrote in the February 14 letter.

The current plan is to propose holding the convention at the American Airlines Center, since the convention center is already booked for those dates in 2016.

The CVB has already created a red, white and blue logo with an elephant silhouetted over a large “D.”

"I think Dallas represents what the Republican National Committee and convention wants to show," Smith said. "It's in the middle of the country. It's a diverse population. It's a huge economic engine for the country. It's business at its best."

Mayor Rawlings' office told News 8 he is not doing any interviews about the convention bid "until more pieces fall into place."

Hutchison’s office said she was out of town and unavailable for comment.

The city's bid is due on Wednesday, February 26. Hutchison, Rawlings and a delegation will fly to RNC headquarters to present it in person on March 3.

Dallas’ strongest competition comes from Denver and Las Vegas, Jones said, while noting that many cities have expressed interest.

The CVB said it has contacted former President George W. Bush’s office in Dallas, but Jones wouldn’t elaborate why or what role he might play.

The RNC will announce a short list of finalist cities in the spring.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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