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GOP planning for convention is on schedule

Event coming to Cleveland in July

  • GOP-Convention-2016

    A view of downtown Cleveland.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • GOP-1

    Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, left, and Jeb Bush speak during a debate at the Quicken Loans Arena in August. The party will return to the Cleveland venue in Cleveland for its convention in six months.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

GOP-1

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, left, and Jeb Bush speak during a debate at the Quicken Loans Arena in August. The party will return to the Cleveland venue in Cleveland for its convention in six months.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

CLEVELAND — Six months before it nominates its candidate, the Republican National Committee says its convention planning is on schedule for Quicken Loans Arena.

Regardless of whether Donald Trump or Gov. John Kasich, or both — or neither — end up on the party’s ticket for president in November, the convention is expected to attract some 50,000 visitors and unleash spending of up to $300 million in Cuyahoga County.

The RNC staged an open house of their offices here Tuesday for a few of the estimated 15,000 media members who will be covering the convention. Political bipartisanship was the official order of the day.

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Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, a Democrat, promised the Republicans “the best event Cleveland has ever held.”

“We’re ready to go. We’ve got six months. Our hotel is on time and on budget. It’s definitely on time. Everything’s going smoothly. We’re working closely with the committee, the sheriff’s department. We’re all in,” Mr. Budish said. “I have more Republican friends than I thought.”

The Republican National Convention will take place July 18-21 at “the Q,” concluding the primary and caucus process that is scheduled to start Feb. 1 in Iowa. The 2,500 delegates elected in the states’ primary elections and caucuses will assemble and formally nominate the party’s presidential candidate and running mate.

The Democrats are to meet July 25-28 in Philadelphia. Both conventions are taking place more than a month earlier than usual.

The media story-filing center will be in the Convention Center, a short bus ride from “the Q.” The arrangements committee has installed a fiber line between the two facilities. Plenty of space has been reserved inside the arena for radio and television broadcasters to cover the convention live. The delegates will all be seated on the floor, and alternates will be seated in the risers.

Jeff Larson, chief executive officer of the arrangements committee, said 1,300 companies are on the vendor list and priority will be given to local contractors as much as possible, he said.

Ohio’s Republican Party has endorsed Mr. Kasich for the nomination, but the state’s Republican voters will make that decision in the March 15 primary. Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman Rob Frost is hoping the state will be able to award its 66 delegates to Mr. Kasich.

Mr. Larson said the host committee is raising $64 million for the convention. Cleveland secured a $50 million grant from the federal government to pay for security, as did Philadelphia. The RNC is spending $10 million to $12 million, and Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have each committed at least $2.5 million to the effort.

Cuyahoga County is building a 600-room Hilton Downtown Cleveland hotel at a cost of $272 million as part of its convention center to be completed in June, Mr. Budish said.

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058 or on Twitter @TomFTroy.

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