revised February 12, 2015      

Site Selection   Republicans  |  Democrats
Only about two dozen American cities have the facilities, infrastructure and wherewithall to host one of the major party's quadrennial nominating conventions.  Because of the substantial financial commitment required and the demands on infrastructure, many of these cities opt not to pursue a convention bid.  Yet holding a national convention can provide a significant economic boost to a city, and interested cities make substantial efforts to woo the parties. To mount a successful bid, political, civic and business leaders must be firmly united behind the effort.  They must show  that their city has the finances, the facilities and infrastructure to host a successful convention, and also that holding the convention there can provide a boost to the nominee in more intangible ways.  Thus interested cities highlight not only numbers of hotel rooms, transportation, and the range of amenities available for delegates, but also political considerations, such as battleground state status, presence of key constituency groups and historic or cultural elements.  Ultimately the bottom line is very important, though; the host committee must show it will be able to raise tens of millions of dollars to support the convention.

Past Cycles: 2012 | 2008 | 2004 D, R | 2000


Philadelphia is ideally suited to serve as the host city for this historically important event.
press releases...
letter [PDF]
Wells Fargo Center   © Wells Fargo Center
The Path to Philadelphia
The Democrats' process started when letters were sent out to several dozen cities on Feb. 7, 2014.  In an April 21, 2014 cover letter accompanying the RFP, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz summarized what the party is looking for.  She stated:

"While many of the requirements are specific to the various logistical and administrative goals of putting on the Democratic National Convention, we do seek a city that shares our values of equality, inclusion, diversity, respect and dignity. And because of the significant security and construction related issues that we will face, we also look for a city with strong relationships with organized labor and those they represent. Our priority is to work with a community that will partner with us as we plan this historic event." 

Bids were due at the DNC on June 6, 2014 at 5 p.m..  Wasserman Schultz announced that six cities had responded by the deadline: Birmingham, AL; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; New York (Brooklyn), NY; Phoenix, AZ; and Philadelphia, PA (+).  On June 23 representatives of the six cities pitched their bids to the DNC's Technical Advisory Committee in Washington, DC.  On July 18 Cleveland, which Republicans announced on July 8 as their choice, withdrew its bid.  Between July 21 and September 11 the Technical Advisory Committee made visits to the five remaining cities: Birmingham (July 21-22), Columbus (Aug. 6-7), New York (Aug. 11-12), Philadelphia (Aug. 13-14) and Phoenix (Sept. 10-11). 

On November 24 Wasserman Schultz announced Columbus, New York and Philadelphia as the three finalist cities (+).  Competition heated up a bit in Dec. 2014 (+).  On Dec. 11 Columbus 2016 launched #BRINGIT, including a special website which allowed supporters to directly message DNC leadership and an Action Pack which encouraged supporters to tweet and post to facebook, take a selfie with a #BRINGIT graphic, or make a video.  On Dec. 12, the New York City Host Committee 2016 announced its fundraising total had reached $15 million, and on Dec. 16 that committee finally put up a web site.  However on February 12 Wasserman Schultz announced the selection of Philadelphia (+).


Feb. 7, 2014 DNC sends out letters to several dozen cities summarizing the party's requirements and requesting responses from interested cities by March 1, 2014.

Evening of April 21, 2014 DNC sends out RFPs to 15 cities: Atlanta  -  Chicago  -  Cleveland  -  Columbus  -  Detroit  -  Indianapolis  -  Las Vegas  -  Miami  -  Nashville  -  New York  -  Orlando  -  Philadelphia  -  Phoenix  -  Pittsburgh  -  Salt Lake City.

(Birmingham requests RFP after the initial batch of RFP's went out to cities).

June 6, 2014 at 5 p.m.. Bids are due at the DNC.   DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announces six cities have responded by the deadline: Birmingham, AL; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; New York (Brooklyn), NY; Phoenix, AZ; and Philadelphia, PA (+).

June 23, 2014
The six cities pitch their bids to the Technical Advisory Committee at the DNC in Washington, DC.

July 18, 2014
Cleveland withdraws its bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

July 21 to Sept. 11, 2014
Technical Advisory Committee makes visits to five cities.
July 21-22 - Birmingham    August 4-5 - Cleveland*    August 6-7 - Columbus    August 11-12 - New York    August 13-14 - Philadelphia    September 10-11 - Phoenix.   *Cleveland withdrew bid.

Nov. 24, 2014
DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announces three finalist cities are Columbus, New York and Philadelphia (+).

Feb. 12, 2015
DNC and Philadelphia sign final contract and chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announces selection of Philadelphia as the host city (+).

The DNC's 15-person Technical Advisory Committee consists of Stephen Bittel  -  Peggy Cusack  -  Amy Dacey, DNC CEO  -  Leah Daughtry  -  Lisa Garcia  -  Zoe Garmendia, DNC Director of Convention Site Selection  -  Greg Hinton, DNC Chief Diversity Officer  -  Ricky Kirshner  -  Theo LeCompte  -  John Liipfert  -  Cameron Moody  -  Ben Self  -  Erik Smith  -  Patrice Taylor, DNC Director of Party Affairs  -  Graham Wilson, Perkins Coie.

Former Possibilities
Eliminated Feb. 12, 2015

press releases...
letter [PDF]
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letter [PDF]
Eliminated Nov. 24, 2014
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letter [PDF]
Withdrew bid July 18, 2014

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Examples1 of Requirements to Host the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Convention Facilities
Convention Complex: An arena, convention hall or enclosed dome stadium with at least 650,000 square feet of usable space with limited access beginning 180 days prior to Convention Week and unlimited (exclusive) access commencing 60 days before and extending three weeks after Convention week

Media Workspace: A minimum of 200,000 to 250,000 square feet of indoor workspace adjacent to or in immediate proximity to the Convention Complex available on a 24/7 basis, 60 days before and three weeks after Convention Week.

Hotels and Housing
In order to accommodate the operational needs of the Convention and to house the Convention participants, the Host City must have the following:

A cross-section of full-service hotels with a commitment of at least 17,000 to 18,000 rooms and 1,000 suites within 30 minutes travel time fo the Convention Complex during peak traffic hours...

The Host City is reponsible for providing transportation for delegates and Convention participants to and from the airport and frequent daily runs between the DNCC Convention hotels and the Convention facilities.  Transportation requirements include:

A minimum of 250 air-conditioned buses (for the exclusive use of the Convention) to move delegates and other participants efficiently and quickly to Convention destinations during peak traffic hours.

Communications and Technology
...the Host City must have the ability to accommodate the following:

An advanced telephony network, with sufficient capacity to provide adequate amounts of high capacity service (0C-3, PRIs, etc.) and low capacity service (POTS, BRIs, etc.) at all sites.

Additional Host City Responsibilities
While a number of factors are considered when selecting a Host City, the financial package is a key component.  The Host City should develop a financial package consisting of cash and in-kind services to cover the cost of facilities, communications, contstruction, hospitality transportation, security, insurance, and other factors associated with hosting the Convention.

1. The above points are drawn from the nine-page summary of preliminary requirements accompanying the Feb. 7 letter.

Cleveland has the resources, experience and motivation to host an extremely successful and memorable convention.
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Quicken Loans Arena "The Q"  © Cleveland Cavaliers

The Path to Cleveland
In late 2013 the Republican National Committee sent out letters to about 30 cities to determine interest in hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.  Eight cities showed interest in hosting the Republicans' quadrennial get-together: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.  Cities adopted different approaches in their convention wooing efforts.  Kansas City, Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix and Columbus were relatively high profile, including having a presence or hosting receptions at one or more RNC meetings (see: activity at RNC 2014 Winter Meeting).  Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dallas did not make their interest clear until, Feb. 10, 2014, when they sent representatives to the RNC's interested cities day, held for cities to ask questions prior to submitting a bid. 

A top priority, emphasized by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus from the outset of the process, was the financial package a city could put together; the RNC wanted to avoid a repeat of 2012, when the Romney campaign actually had to step in about a month out as it became clear the Tampa host committee was falling well short of its commitment.  Additionally Preibus stated his goal of holding the convention earlier than in recent cycles (beginning dates of June 27 or July 18, 2016 were mentioned).  Availability of arenas may have been one factor weighing against some cities where the facilities are used by professional sports teams.

On Jan. 21, RNC chairman Reince Priebus announced Enid Mickelsen, RNC committeewoman from Utah and a former congresswoman, as chair of the RNC's site selection committee (+), and on Jan. 24 members of the RNC elected the remaining site selection committee members by region (+).

The RNC's RFP was 29 pages long, and the deadline for convention bids was Feb. 26, 2014.  On February 27, Chairman Priebus tweeted, "Congratulations to Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas & Phoenix for moving on to the next phase."

On March 3 leaders from five of the cities made formal presentations to the RNC; groups from the other three cities were disrupted by weather.  The three remaining cities made their presentations on March 21.  On April 2, the RNC Site Selection Committee voted to narrow the list of cities under consideration from eight to six: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas (+)

From April 16-30 a small group of RNC staff and advisors made visits to the six cities to consider technical details of the bids.  The Site Selection Committee met on May 9 at the RNC Spring Meeting in Memphis to review the new information.  On May 22 the Site Selection Committee convened via conference call.  Cincinnati and Las Vegas withdrew prior to the call as their bids fell short of the RNC's criteria.  The Committee voted to make official site visits to Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Kansas City (+)

From June 2-13 the Site Selection Committee accompanied by four technical advisors (people with extensive convention experience including Bill Harris and Maria Cino) visited the four cities: Cleveland  (June 2-4), Kansas City (June 4-6), Denver (June 9-11) and Dallas (June 11-13).  The Site Selection Committee met in Washington, DC on June 25 and narrowed the choices to two finalists, Dallas and Cleveland (+). 

On June 30-July 1 a small technical team made another visit to Cleveland (Dallas did not get another visit).  On July 8 the Site Selection Committee convened via phone and recommended Cleveland to host the convention (+).  On August 8, meeting in Chicago for its summer meeting, the full RNC made the selection of Cleveland official. 

Note.  An interesting development occurred three days after the RNC announcement.  On July 11 NBA basketball star LeBron James announced he would return to the Cleveland Caveliers, leading observers to suggest the team could advance well into the playoffs in the coming years and in 2016 tie up the Quicken Loans Arena when preparations for the convention are to be carried out.  In 2013, for example, the NBA playoffs went to June 20.

late 2013
RNC sends out letters to about 30 cities inviting them to respond if they are interested in receiving a request for proposal (RFP).  RFPs sent to "roughly two dozen cities."

Jan. 21, 2014
RNC chairman Reince Priebus announces Enid Mickelsen as chair of the Site Selection Committee (+).

Jan. 24, 2014
At the RNC Winter Meeting in Washington, DC, RNC members elect the remaining Site Selection Committee members by region (+).

Feb. 10, 2014
RNC holds interested cities day for cities to ask questions prior to submitting a bid.

Feb. 26, 2014
Deadline for cities to submit bid.  Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix do so.

Mar. 3, 2014
Columbus, Kansas City, Denver, Phoenix, and Cleveland make formal presentations to the Site Selection Committee (+).  The other three cities delayed by snowstorm.

Mar. 21, 2014
Cincinnati, Dallas, and Las Vegas make formal presentations (+).

April 2, 2014
Site Selection Committee votes to narrow list of cities under consideration from eight to six: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas (+).

April 16-30, 2014
A small team of RNC staff and advisors visits the six cities "for a more in-depth and technical look at financing, convention venues, media workspace, and hotels."
April 16 - Denver   April 17 - Las Vegas    April 24 - Dallas    April 25 - Kansas City  April 29 - Cincinnati   April 30 - Cleveland.

May 9, 2014
Site Selection Committee meets for several hours at the RNC Spring Meeting in Memphis, TN to discuss reports from technical site visits.

May 22, 2014
Site Selection Committee convenes via conference call.  Cincinnati and Las Vegas withdrew prior to the call.  Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Kansas approved to receive official visits (+).

June 2-13, 2014
Full RNC Site Selection Committee and RNC delegation makes official city visits.
June 2-4 - Cleveland    June 4-6 - Kansas City    June 9-11 - Denver    June 11-13 Dallas.

June 25, 2014
Site Selection Committee meets in Washington, DC and selects Cleveland and Dallas as finalists (+).

June 30-July 1, 2014
Small technical team visits Cleveland (Dallas did not require another visit).

July 8, 2014
Site Selection Committee convenes via phone and recommends Cleveland to host the convention (+).  Contract negotiations begin.

August 8, 2014
Full RNC makes it official, voting for Cleveland as host city at summer meeting in Chicago.

Former Possibilities

Eliminated July 8, 2014

Dallas' entrepreneurial spirit, can-do attitude, and values make it the ideal location for hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention in a big way.

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Eliminated June 25, 2014

“There’s no better place for Republicans to showcase job growth, innovation and healthy living than Colorado.” The Kansas City spirit of hard work, creativity and hospitality makes us ready to host the most successful GOP Convention in history.
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Eliminated May 22, 2014

Cincinnati represents a rejuvenated, beautiful and thriving area with amenities second to none. Las Vegas knows how to host an event of this scale and do it better than anyone else.
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facebook  |  twitter

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Eliminated April 2, 2014

The road to the White House goes through Columbus, Ohio. Phoenix is, in fact, the link the Republican Party needs to bridge our proud past with our brighter future.
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Examples1 of Requirements to Host the 2016 Republican National Convention

Minimum Space Requirements
Main Convention Area: A convention hall, arena, or similar facility capable of seating at least 18,000 persons in a configuration suitable for a presidential nominating convention.
Convention Office Space: Approximately 40,000 square feet of space, comprised of approximately 75 rooms for offices and related workspace.
Media Work Space: 250,000 - 350,000 square feet of media workspace in, adjacent to, or near the Main Convention Area.
Parking Facilities: Parking Facilities within, adjacent to and in the immediate area of the other Leased Facilities sufficient for parking of approximately 2,000 cars and 300 “plus” buses.
The City and/or Host Committee agree to make available the following first class hotel rooms based upon the following schedule:
During the Convention Period: 16,000 first class hotel rooms, plus 1,000 one (1) and two (2) bedroom suites.
Transportation Services
During the Convention Period, an air-conditioned bus transportation system shall be designed and implemented to transport Convention participants between their respective hotels and the Main Convention Area or officially designated Convention facilities for each session of the Convention. Three hundred fifty (350) buses are estimated
to be required for this purpose.

1. The above points are from Columbus press release.

2. Going beyond generic CVB videos, some of the cities have produced RNC 2016 specific videos:
Cleveland: "Why is Cleveland the best city to host the 2016 RNC?" (Mar. 12, 2014) +
  |  "Boehner Supports Cleveland's Bid for the GOP's 2016 Convention" (May 30, 2014) +  |  "Gov. John Kasich - Cleveland in the Finals for GOP Convention" (June 25, 2014) +
Denver: Denver RNC FINAL (Feb. 23, 2014) +
Kansas City: "KANSAS CITY 2016" (Feb. 27, 2014) +  | 
"KANSAS CITY 2016 - All Roads Lead To Here" (Mar. 3, 2014) +
Las Vegas: "Come to Las Vegas.  You Won't be disappointed" (Jan. 17, 2014) + "Governor Brian Sandoval on Las Vegas 2016" (Jan. 18, 2014)  |  "Las Vegas Is Ready" (Jan. 20, 2014) +
Phoenix: Vote for Arizona! RNC Convention 2016 +, Arizona for RNC Convention +, and "A Message from Governor Brewer" + (Aug. 23, 2013)  |  Rise of the Republicans (Jan. 15, 2014) + |  Senator Joh Kyl (Jan. 23, 2014) +