Putting in a pitch for GOP convention

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CINCINNATI (AP) -- GOP officials and business leaders in the Cincinnati area are trying to put together a winning pitch for the Republican National Convention that would also highlight neighboring Kentucky.

With the deadline for a formal proposal less than a month away, officials are laying out the region's attributes and checking on potential funding for a 2016 convention that would bring tens of thousands of delegates, campaign workers, journalists and other visitors. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports (http://cin.ci/1c6Ll9U) that local Republican officials figure they need some $10 million from businesses and other private donors.

"We are seeing if we have enough time and enthusiasm to do it," said Amy Murray, a Cincinnati councilwoman. Cincinnati has hosted a number of major conventions, and a national party convention "would put us on another level," she said.

A leading argument for Ohio is the state's role as a pivotal swing state.

"Ohio could be a game changer," Hamilton County GOP chairman Alex Triantafilou said. "The state is critical to winning. Southwest Ohio is critical to winning."

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has been aggressively promoting the state's capital for the GOP convention. The Democrat spoke recently to Republican National Committee members in Washington.

Cincinnati officials acknowledge that they might be behind, but they can counter with the proximity of northern Kentucky and its hotels and attractions. The region just across the Ohio River would add thousands of hotel rooms for convention goers.

"A great question is why a convention hasn't recently been held in Ohio," said Boston University professor Tom Whalen, a presidential historian. "Ohio is late to the starting gate, but it did help determine the last three elections. Politicians are catching up to reality. It wouldn't surprise me if the party chose Cincinnati or Columbus."

Also of interest: Ohio Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky are both considered potential 2016 national-ticket contenders.

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

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