CINCINNATI (AP) -- To hold the Republican National Convention in Cincinnati, supporters must figure out how a host committee can raise the millions in private money that will be needed and also spruce up the downtown arena.
Convention experts, local leaders and political insiders told The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1iLsCoc ) that raising the money -- between $50 million and $55 million -- is the biggest hurdle. All of it goes to the RNC for event costs including lighting, security, transportation and catering.
The other cities that are still in the running for the convention -- Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Denver -- are all bigger cities that have made past pitches or previously hosted political conventions.
Hamilton County GOP chairman Alex Triantafilou wouldn't disclose how much has been raised for Cincinnati's bid so far but said: "We're well on our way."
If either Cincinnati or Cleveland gets the convention, it is expected to receive $10 million from the state.
Cincinnati's proposed convention home arena is large enough, with capacity for 18,000 seats. U.S. Bank Arena spokesman Sean Lynn said owner Nederlander Co. would invest about $4 million if Cincinnati gets the convention.
"We're told we meet all the specifications and requirements," Lynn said. "We realize the RNC will ask for modifications, and we'll see what we can do to get it done."
Although Cincinnati itself doesn't have enough hotel rooms for a convention, neighboring sites that are located in northern Kentucky and other Cincinnati suburban areas push the total well past the 16,000-room target for convention sites.
RNC staff members will visit Cincinnati and other sites in the next two months, helping narrow the list for official site selection visits later.
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com