WASHINGTON, D.C. – The road to the White House should run right through Cincinnati in 2016.
That's what members of Cincinnati's bid team said to Republican leaders Friday in an attempt to win the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Cincinnati Republican leaders pitched the Queen City as the perfect spot for the event in a closed-door session at Republican National Headquarters.
Columbus and Cleveland are also making bids as Ohio hopes to retain its importance as a swing state.
The six-member team’s pitch – led by Western Southern President John Barrett – included details about Cincinnati’s facilities, walkability, restaurants and more. They even brought some Cincinnati treats with them, including Graeter's ice cream, Montgomery Inn ribs and Cincinnati chili.
Barrett said they had the selection committee’s complete attention.
"Once we did the, ‘Who dey,’ it was all over,” Barrett said. “We know we got it.”
The meeting was supposed to last 60 minutes, but stretched into an hour-and-a-half.
“By and large, we've got a place on fire and we hope you guys are all there in two years to enjoy it with us," Barrett told committee members. “We think we have the belle of the ball in our city. You can walk everywhere. It's got all the facilities you could ever use. Hundreds of restaurants and they're not all grouped in one place."
If Cincinnati gets the bid, it could bring 50,000 attendees and an economic impact of $150 million.
One issue that could prevent the city from winning the event is a lack of fundraising, Kenton County Republican Party Chairman Greg Shumate said.
$50 million is needed, but only $15 million has been raised.
“There are certainly questions about whether the money can be raised,” Shumate said. “But given the fact that Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky have been well known to raise funds on the political side for Republican candidates, I don't think that will be a problem.”
The city will have to wait until the end of the summer for the final decision.