Eight cities are officially in the running to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, the party announced Thursday -- including Las Vegas and Dallas, which have been talked about as frontrunners.

Ohio has a strong showing among potential host cities, with Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus all placing bids. Denver, Kansas City and Phoenix are also being considered.

The cities will present their bids to the selection committee in Washington on Monday.

Meanwhile, the selection process for the 2016 Democratic National Convention is in its early stages. Columbus will begin to gauge support from Democrats later this week over cocktails with a group of the state's major political figures, including Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Hosting a political convention is a major undertaking for a city, and requires years of planning in addition to tens of millions of dollars invested in the project. In 2012, Tampa hosted the Republican National Convention, and Democrats selected Charlotte for theirs.