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Will Charlotte host GOP convention in 2016?

  • Charlotte Observer
  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, at 12:13 p.m.

It worked for Democrats. Could it work for Republicans?

With national Republican Party officials gathering in Charlotte this week, it’s a natural question: Will the party return for its 2016 convention?

“It’s a little premature,” GOP spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski. “I think there’s a little bit of a desire to … make those decisions a little bit later.”

The GOP, like the Democratic Party, hasn’t even begun its process for choosing its convention site. Both parties began a process of picking their 2012 sites in 2010. Republicans chose Tampa that year while Democrats picked Charlotte in 2011.

More than 160 members of the GOP executive committee are scheduled to arrive Wednesday for the three-day gathering. They’ll gather at the NASCAR Hall of Fame for an evening reception hosted by Gov. Pat McCrory.

There they’ll watch a video of the city produced by the Charlotte Chamber. But neither the city, the Chamber nor the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority are expected to make a formal pitch for the convention.

Chamber President Bob Morgan said they’re waiting for the CRVA’s economic impact study from the Democratic convention. That report is expected this month.

“We need to see that and have a conversation,” Morgan said.

Organizers estimated an economic impact of around $150 million. But the cost of putting on the event were large as well.

The host committee for the Democratic convention struggled to raise money for the event. As of October, it had fallen $12.5 million short of its $36.6 million goal.

New reports are due this month.

Morgan said organizers had asked officials in Denver – site of the 2008 Democratic convention – why they’d waited 100 years to hold another one. The city was the site of the 1908 Democratic convention.

“They said that’s about the right rhythm,” Morgan said.

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