CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A delegation of roughly 20 members from the Republican National Committee were in Charlotte this week as part of the city's ongoing bid to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, WBTV has learned.
The visit was part of the RNC Site Selection Committee's work to select a location to host the party's quadrennial confab ahead of the next presidential election.
Charlotte is among three finalists to host the event; the other two are Las Vegas, NV and an unidentified city in Texas that sources with knowledge of the process speculate are either San Antonio or Dallas.
A source with knowledge of this week's visit to Charlotte tells WBTV the group was hosted by Mayor Vi Lyles and NC Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes. The visit was also supported by business groups, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the Charlotte Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Among the places the site selection committee visited were the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the group had a private dinner overlooking the track; the NASCAR Hall of Fame; and the Spectrum Center and Convention Center, two facilities that would play a central role in hosting the event.
According to the source with knowledge of the visit, the city made a presentation detailing what went well and what did not work when Charlotte hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012. That presentation also highlighted the number of new hotel rooms recently built and that are planned to be completed by 2020. The lack of hotel space was a major drawback in the 2012 DNC.
"Over the past three days, I have had the pleasure of working with Mayor Vi Lyles, her team, and a number of Charlotte officials making a presentation to the RNC Site Selection Committee," North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes told WBTV. "I could not be more proud of their efforts, professionalism, and hospitality. They and the CRVA have put on an all-star presentation highlighting the benefits of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and surrounding areas in the state of North Carolina."
"I look forward to the decision of the Site Selection Committee," Hayes continued. "Based on merit, I think we have a great chance of winning the competition."
Tom Murray is the CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) which has been leading the proposal to land the GOP convention in Charlotte.
He confirmed that the group looked at "key venues such as the Charlotte Convention Center and Spectrum Center in addition to meeting with leaders in our city and state's public and private sectors."
"We are committed to the possibility of hosting the convention and believe in the economic impact and strategic event value that it holds for our region, Murrary told WBTV. "The focus of their site visit was to explore Charlotte and evaluate its potential as a host city for the 2020 RNC. We supported that visit in every way possible by providing authentic hospitality, showcasing our city's infrastructure and giving them a glimpse of what makes Charlotte so special.