Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
Dallas could come out a front runner in the bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. According to Mayor Mike Rawlings, the city has already raised more than half of the money required to play host.
Dallas could emerge as the front runner among eight cities vying to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
On Friday, the selection committee heard pitches from the final three cities hoping to host the event today.
A snow storm had kept Dallas, Las Vegas, and Cincinnati from attending the official pitch day in the nation's capital earlier this month.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told the RNC’s selection committee Friday that the city already has already raised $40 million and plans to have all $60 million needed to host the convention secured a year before the event.
"I'm terrifically confident about what Dallas has to offer," said Rawlings. "We are big enough to pull this off, but we are also not so big they will get lost."
Kansas City, Denver, Cleveland, Columbus and Phoenix are also competing for the bid.
The site selection committee has said its primary consideration is finances followed by access to transportation and hotels, and delegate experience.
Las Vegas may be Dallas' strongest competitor. Vegas is promising 150,000 hotel rooms, a strong donor base and no athletic conflict. Dallas could have a tight window to prepare the American Airlines Center for the convention if the Dallas Mavericks make the NBA Playoffs.
Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News says one thing could work against Vegas. "There are a lot of people in the Republican party who are going to be very uncomfortable about bringing the Republican party to Sin City," he said.
After hearing all the pitches RNC chairman Reince Preibus said all of the pitches were impressive.
"The amount of interest the level of interest the preparedness of these cities has been extraordinarily impressive and it honestly makes the decision very difficult," said Priebus. "I think it’s wonderful that all three of these cities are interested in the republican convention but as you know there is not a great history of turning states just for a particular party just based on where the convention is held."
In a few weeks, the selection committee will announce which of the eight cities they plan to visit, and in late spring they will announce the finalists.
The committee is hoping to select a winner by late summer.