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Kansas City out of running for 2016 GOP convention

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at 1:35 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at 1:37 p.m.

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Kansas City’s nearly two-year effort to attract the 2016 Republican National Convention is over.

In an announcement Wednesday afternoon, the Republican party said Cleveland and Dallas are still in the running.

“Cleveland and Dallas demonstrated their ability to host a phenomenal convention in 2016, and the RNC is excited about the prospect of hosting our convention in either of these great cities,” site selection committee chairwoman Enid Mickelsen said in a statement.

“The committee extends our sincere thanks and gratitude to Denver and Kansas City for their hard work and dedication to this effort,” she added.

The decision is undoubtedly a disappointment to local officials, who have spent more than $250,000 in an intense effort to convince the GOP to bring the convention here.

The city’s push included booths at GOP gatherings, videos, a presentation in Washington, D.C., and an elaborate two-day Kansas City tour that included fireworks and a surprise appearance by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

In the end, it wasn’t enough.

Kansas City’s lack of close-in, first-class hotel space was seen as a problem by local organizers, as was the city’s lack of rail transit.

There were also late concerns that Sprint Arena wasn’t large enough to accommodate all of the party’s convention needs.

At the same time, the city had received pledges of $30 million to defray the costs of the gathering, ahead of fundraising in Denver and Cleveland.

Mayor Sly James was in Denver early Wednesday afternoon not immediately available for comment.

The party’s choice of Dallas is not a surprise. The city has more hotel rooms and its mass transit system is considered more robust.

Kansas City’s argument that it alone could provide convention space for the party’s preferred June 2016 date was not as persuasive.

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