Deadline to host Republican National Convention extended, Charlotte working on bid submission

Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 11:53 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The deadline for cities to submit bids to host the Republican National Convention in 2020 has been extended, officials say, but the city of Charlotte is continuing to put its bid together.

In mid-February, city officials announced Charlotte was "evaluating options" convention. The first step is to submit a proposal "highlighting all that Charlotte has to offer as a convention destination," which is being spearheaded by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA).

When the bid process was initially announced, Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles said the submission was due by the end of the month.

Wednesday evening, officials from the CRVA said no bid had been submitted yet.

Officials with the North Carolina Republican Party (NCGOP) said the bid was expected to be submitted to the Republican National Committee "in the coming weeks." Officials say the delay for the submission was part of a broader deadline extension for all prospective host cities.

Lyles says the Republican National Committee sent a letter back in December to Charlotte and other cities suggesting the city bid to host the 2020 Convention.

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The document, which Lyles says is "about an inch thick," and entails how the city would host the convention, how it would house all the attendees and how the city can ensure the safety for "an event of this magnitude."

NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes says the bid has brought people from all sides together.

"The most exciting part of this bid process is how Republicans, Democrats and the business community are coming together to make a strong bid," Hayes said. "The City of Charlotte has fully embraced this effort."

"Charlotte was clearly an outstanding host for our Democrat friends in 2012," Hayes said. "With that said, no city can stage such a massive event without having some lessons learned. In essence, Charlotte has staged a 200 million dollar 'dry run' that can provide critical knowledge in crafting an outstanding world-class event."

The Queen City hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012, drawing about 35,000 delegates, media, and visitors. According to officials, it was the largest event in the city's history with an economic impact of more than $163 million.

Lyles hopes landing the upcoming Republican convention would have an economic impact that would exceed $100 million.

The Republican National Committee estimates the 2016 Republican National Convention, held in Cleveland, brought an estimated 48,000 attendees and brought an estimated $188.4M to Cleveland. The 2012 Republican National Convention, held in a weather-bashed Tampa, brought in 50,000 attendees and head an economic impact of $183.6M.

Hayes said the proposal will highlight some strengths which he says are unique to Charlotte, including strong community support from both sides of the aisle, an easy access airport and a strong base of Republican volunteers within two hours of Charlotte, including South Carolina.

The proposal will also highlight the city's improving infrastructure with new hotels since the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

CRVA CEO Tom Murray says the city is expected to have more than 6,000 hotel rooms in uptown Charlotte by the time the convention would be held.
He says the convention will also bring "major decision makers" who could see that Charlotte is a good place to bring their business.

Murray says the city's ability to host two national conventions, a PGA Championship and the NBA All-Star game would prove that Charlotte can host major events along as well as the biggest cities in the world.

"We have tough competition and only one city can win out," Hayes said. "However, we are well positioned due to the bipartisan community efforts and we like our chances."

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