WASHINGTON — Cleveland won the backing of a Republican National Committee panel on Tuesday, all but guaranteeing the GOP's 2016 presidential pick will accept the party's nomination in perennially hard-fought Ohio.
The Republicans' site selection committee backed Cleveland over Dallas, and the full 168-member Republican National Committee is expected to ratify the choice next month. The move signals the role Ohio, and its 18 electoral votes, plays in presidential campaigns.
"As goes Ohio, so goes the presidential race," said party Chairman Reince Priebus.
The RNC did not announce a start date for the convention but Priebus said that June 27 or July 18, 2016, are the two options under consideration.
Paying for the convention was the top criterion for the 12-member site selection committee. The previous two GOP conventions have sapped party dollars during election years, and Priebus insisted the host city not leave the central party picking up the tab, which is expected to be around $60 million.
In proposals and presentations to the party, Cleveland pledged to raise the tens of millions of dollars required to pay for the week-long rally for the party faithful. A successful convention is a boon not just to the political party, but also to the local economy.