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Cincinnati one of eight cities bidding for National Convention

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- The convention site, if the Queen City gets the nod, is the arena home to hockey, concerts and the circus, among other things.

But it could be home to a lot of elephants.  Not circus elephants but the symbol of the Republican party bringing a political convention to Ohio for the first time in a long time.

The last political convention in Ohio was in Cleveland, 1936.  The Republicans nominated Governor Alf Landon of Kansas.  Landon would go on to lose in a Landon-slide to President Franklin Roosevelt.

The last time Cincinnati had a National Political Convention was the Democrats in 1880 and the Republicans in 1876.  So maybe we're about due.

Hamilton County GOP Chairman, Alex Triantafilou, said, "We've got several great reasons for the convention to be here.  The first is our location.  The electoral importance of southwest Ohio generally is our best argument."

The bid package describes the pivotal swing state and includes a packet of Cincinnati chili and chocolate from Graeter's.  But two other Ohio cities, Columbus and Cleveland, are bidding as well.  Both have bigger, more modern arenas than US Bank Arena.  But Triantafilou says the arena here can be marketed as a plus.  It can handle big events, like the world choir games and it's a close walk to downtown hotels.

Triantafilou said, "Our arena doesn't sit in a suburban community surrounded by a sea of parking lots.  It sits near the city's core."

Of course, not all hotels are walking distance.  The local GOP chair says perhaps the biggest challenge to getting the convention here is convincing the locals.

He said, "Jeff we've been battling that from the beginning.  We've got to get over that as a city, we just have to.  I'm active in social media and I said sometimes we think small.  We're thinking big."

There is one bit of irony, the Cincinnati bid package touts the streetcar, which should be finished by the 2016 convention, as one of our tourist attractions.  Of course, nearly every Republican elected official from here to Columbus opposed the project with Governor John Kasich killing the 50 million dollars which would have run the tracks up near University of Cincinnati.  However, Triantafilou says as long as the streetcar is coming, might as well take advantage of it.

Along with Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland, the other bid cities for the GOP Convention are Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix.  A decision by the Republican National Committee is expected later this year.

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