Update: Whoops from the Lone Star State have been squelched. Why? Reports published yesterday (2/3/10) that Houston, TX was a finalist for the 2012 Republican Convention are not true. The city of Houston didn’t even apply to host the convention.
City officials said Houston underwent a change of administration and missed the deadline to apply for the convention, but it isn’t clear if they intended to apply or want to now. Rumors abound. Will Houston officials request an extension from the RNC and submit a bid? Is there a 4th city still to be announced as a finalist for the GOP 2012 convention? Are Salt Lake City, Tampa Bay, and Phoenix the complete shortlist?
Holly Hughes RNC Site Selection Committee Chair
Clarification from Holly Hughes (RNC Convention Site Selection Committee Chair) or RNC chairman Michael Steele would be welcome right now.
Houston Not a Finalist for GOP 2012 Convention (updated today -video report incl):
HOUSTON — Houston is not a finalist for the 2012 Republican National Convention, at least not yet.
Rumors started flying Wednesday after published reports stated Houston was one of four finalists.
Late in the evening, the head of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau said the rumors aren’t true.
“I really wish all of our convention bids we could get to the finals without ever having submitted a piece of paper,” said Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Greg Ortale.
Ortale confirmed the city of Houston has yet to sign up for a shot. In fact, the city missed the deadline to apply. Ortega says that’s because of the transition into a new administration.
However, if the RNC gives Houston an extension, the city could throw its name into the hat. The city would bid not only for the GOP Convention, but also the Democratic National Convention.
“You have to go for both and the reason for that is it has to take a full commitment of the community, particularly on the fundraising, and you cannot do that without republicans and democrats in the city working together,” said Ortega.
The 2008 GOP convention was held in St. Paul, MN. Ortale says the community had to raise $80 million, and it got about $150 million back. Still, according to Ortale, there could be a significant cost to the city.
“If you’ve got infrastructure issues, like streets, if you have some security costs that are not going to be recoverable, and it is probably millions of dollars, “he said.
Is it a long shot for Houston? Some say it is, but it’s a chance the city could be willing to take.
“It’s a major undertaking and if we do go forward with it, you’ll be chasing down rumors every week,” said Ortale.
UPDATE Houston Chronicle:
THE REPUBLICANS ARE NOT COMING! THE REPUBLICANS ARE NOT COMING!
Bloggers around the country pounced on the story. Elected officials, Republican and Democrat, got excited; folks from the mayor’s office and old-timers who remember the extensive planning — not to mention the extensive amount of money — that went into the ’92 convention were something less than excited.
They’ll be happy to hear there’s nothing to worry about. A Republican official who didn’t want to be named confirmed a few minutes ago that when the RNC releases its list in a couple of weeks Houston will NOT be on it.
(emphasis mine) Who are these Republican officials reportedly releasing information? The RNC HAS released a list – with three cities listed. It was announced that four city finalists would be named. ???
National Journal.com reported this yesterday:
The RNC has narrowed its search for a ’12 convention location to 4 cities, several party sources tell Hotline OnCall.
In a vote at the Winter meetings in Honolulu late last week, the party narrowed its search to Salt Lake City, Tampa, Phoenix and Houston.
The RNC’s site selection committee, headed by MI committeewoman Holly Hughes, will visit each of the 4 cities later this year to go over logistics, examine hotel and conference capacity and the facility for the convention itself. An RNC spokesperson declined to comment for this story.
Dems have begun accepting bids for their own convention, but they have yet to take even preliminary steps in picking through those cities. DNC chair Tim Kaine has not even set up a site selection committee yet.
All 4 cities GOPers will consider bring upsides. Tampa and Phoenix sit in swing states, while TX has an exploding Hispanic population — a demographic GOPers are keen to attract after they appear to be slipping toward Dems.
And Salt Lake City would be the first inner-mountain West city for a GOP convention. Pres. Obama won NV, CO and NM in ’08, 3 states the GOP must win to reclaim the WH.
Michael Steele RNC Chairman
So far it’s Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Tampa Bay. Who knows what’s next?