Will the Republicans' road to the White House begin in Cleveland?
The second most populous city in Ohio will host the party's national convention in 2016, the Republican National Committee announced Tuesday, where the GOP will anoint its nominee to vie for the presidency.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus touted a Cleveland convention as "a great stepping stone to the White House in 2016."
"The team from Cleveland has gone above and beyond the call of duty and I think they’re representative of a city eager to show the country all the fantastic things they have to offer," Priebus said.
Cleveland bested Dallas in the final round, capping off a months-long process of deliberations and site visits by RNC officials and lobbying efforts by the potential host cities. The committee also considered Denver, Kansas City, Mo., Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Columbus, Ohio, and Phoenix.
Las Vegas, an early favorite to host the convention, was eliminated early amidst concerns about venue availability and donor enthusiasm, which is crucial to funding the costly event.
Some Republicans hoped the party would boost its chances by picking a battleground state, such as Ohio, to anchor the convention, although there is scant evidence of convention locations correlating to election performance.
In addition to choosing a host city, timing for the convention has been a key question for Republicans hoping to avoid a drawn-out, damaging party primary — as in 2012, when the GOP did not hold its convention until the end of August. For 2016, Republicans decided to move the date up and have settled on either June 28 or July 18.
While the decision would abbreviate the primary season, the earlier date also risks a too-soon peak in enthusiasm for the party's nominee. The conventions are marquee events of the election cycle, offering each party an opportunity to air what is essentially an uninterrupted, multi-day infomercial.
David Plouffe, who ran President Obama's campaign in 2008, predicted Republicans' decision on timing would prove "a huge strategic blunder."
"Where [the] convention is will be less important than when it is," Plouffe tweeted. "GOP likely made [a] huge strategic blunder with June choice."