KC lobbying hard to host Republican National Convention

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It's been 40 years since the metro hosted a political party convention.

But area leaders and area Republicans are hoping to change that and lobbying hard Wednesday.

Mayor Sly James of KCMO and Mayor Mark Holland of KCK, both took trips to Boston, where the GOP was holding a summer meeting. They, along with other KC delegates, are battling to get the Republican National Convention here in 2016.

"There have been a couple of times when people have said that they heard that we were in town and have been looking forward to hearing what we've got to say," Mayor James said by phone.

"The message we want them to hear from us is how well we work together, our willingness as a region to come together and put our way foot forward," Mayor Holland said by phone.

Amy Jordan Wooden, an aide to Mayor Sly James, said a reception put on for a Republican selection committee was very well-received.

The committee ultimately has the final say in the convention's location.

KC does have some competition. Phoenix, Salt Lake City and New Orleans are a few of the cities that have expressed interest. Las Vegas is also on the list.

Dan Schwartz, finance chairman for the Nevada Republican Party and interim head of the group putting together the bid for the convention in Vegas, said he believes Sin City and the City of Fountains are the front runners.

Why KC? Schwartz said, "The primary reason is that Kansas City really started early."

Months ago, in fact. FOX 4 spoke to Cathy Nugent back in March about spearheading this effort. She created a Facebook page called "Kansas City 2016."

Schwartz said Las Vegas' challenge is they don't have an arena and the city has a reputation of gambling and booze.

But he said if the party really wants to show it's changing, Vegas would help with that.

Schwartz also said KC faces a big hurdle: trying to raise anywhere between $50 to $70 million.

"This is going to take a big check, and you know, there aren't a lot of people in the world, there aren't a lot of people in the country who can write that check," he said.

Schwartz said Vegas has some deep pockets, so they're fine in that area.

But republican political analyst Annie Presley, with the Bryan Cave Law Firm, said she thinks KC will be OK.  Presley said recent talk suggests the RNC will help out with about 75 percent on national fundraising.

"Taking the pressure off of the local city that's selected so that's very helpful," Presley said.

Presley said she thinks KC has a very good chance of snagging the convention if the talk of moving it to June has any truth to it. She said other cities might have a conflict of interests because many of those cities have NBA teams that need to use the arena, whereas Sprint Center schedule remains more open.

Mayor James said this isn't the first big effort to convince the GOP party to pick KC. He said there was another one on LA. Mayor James said all these efforts are being privately funded.

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