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Cleveland's win could mean big bucks for Ohio

Andy Ouriel • Jul 9, 2014 at 10:30 AM


It remains a mystery whether LeBron James resumes his basketball career in Cleveland.

But one slam-dunk definitely coming to C-Town: The 2016 Republican National Convention.

GOP leaders on Tuesday announced Cleveland as the host city for the national event, scheduled for two summers from now.

Cleveland, edging out Dallas in the final round, ranked No. 1 on the GOP’s list, mainly for logistical and transportation reasons.

Republicans also surely want to secure electoral votes from Ohio, considered by many as the most important swing state in presidential elections.

A convention could help them overthrow Democrats in the White House, considering President Barack Obama claimed Ohio in both of his campaigns. History dictates, more often than not, that the presidential candidate clinching Ohio typically becomes commander in chief.

The convention also comes with added bonuses likely benefiting Erie, Huron, Ottawa and Sandusky counties.

In 2012, when Tampa Bay hosted the Republican convention, this spectacle injected about $404 million of income — through taxes, business-to-business spending and other related investments — into the city and surrounding areas.

While the largest chunk of money for the 2016 convention would funnel into Cleveland’s coffers, nearby tourism-heavy communities stand to split a small sliver of this economic output.

For instance, during the multi-day event, it’s assumed many delegates and visitors will travel westward and head to popular regional attractions — such as Cedar Point, Kalahari Resort, the islands, race tracks and more — before, during or after the convention.

“This is a good thing for us, and we are excited for Cleveland, said Dawn Weinhardt, Lake Erie Shores & Islands managing director. “I am sure, with the volume of the people that will come to the convention, that we will see people staying overnight in our hotels and elsewhere.”

Local reaction

Through statements and interviews with the Register, here’s what some past and present local, state and federal officials said about Cleveland landing the 2016 Republican National Convention:

“This is a good thing that will bring a good economical impact for this area.”

— Bob Bickley, former Milan mayor and past Erie County Republican Party chairman

“It is great that Republicans across the country will spend seven days in Cuyahoga County, seeing the fruits of the successful leadership of (Cuyahoga County executive and Democratic gubernatorial candidate) Ed FitzGerald, (Cleveland) Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County’s next county executive Armond Budish. The region’s rebirth is due to their leadership and the hard work of the people of Cuyahoga County.”

— Ohio Democratic Party chairman and state Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island

“It will give an economic boost to our entire area. I find it kind of interesting that when (people lobbying for Cleveland to host the convention) counted hotel rooms, they counted hotel rooms in places in our area. This is going to be a positive for Republicans in Ohio and a positive for economics here in northern Ohio. Hopefully, some good will come of it.”

— Chris Marinko, Erie County Board of Elections Republican member

“Today’s announcement is excellent news for Ohio. It represents another step forward in the city of Cleveland’s Renaissance. This is about bringing jobs to northeast Ohio and ensuring that our region’s economy continues to grow, with the focus of the country, and even the world, on Ohio once again.”

— U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio

“The national convention is not just a political event, but it is a tourism event that will help Ohio’s economy and gives northern Ohio a chance to show off what we have to offer. I would expect field trips from the delegates to take place, like them going to the islands and Cedar Point that will specifically benefit Erie County and the North Coast."

— State Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green

“As with most conventions, people like to come a few days early or stay a few days late and take in the sights around the area. We have so much to offer them, and I think if we market ourselves the right way, it can really make a huge difference.”

— State Rep. Terry Boose, R-Norwalk

"I'm not surprised they chose Cleveland. Northern Ohio has so much to offer. It will be a real positive thing for everybody,"

— Erie County Republican Party chairman CJ Kamm

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