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Republicans leaning towards Las Vegas for the RNC's 2016 convention

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Will the Republicans be singing “Viva Las Vegas” later this summer? Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Mo., Cleveland and Cincinnati hope not. Columbus and Phoenix were eliminated Tuesday.

Those are the finalists in the race to be the host city for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Las Vegas is the current front-runner due to one of GOP's most powerful benefactors, billionaire casino czar Sheldon Adelson.

But “Sin City” has fierce competition, primarily from another billionaire paradise, Dallas, Texas. Competing cities such as Dallas openly question Las Vegas' image, while promoting their own network of billionaire donors.

Adelson was the host for a handful of prospective presidential candidates over the weekend at his Venetian resort casino. Former Nevada Governor Bob List says it best. "Sheldon wants it. It's a business proposition. A city wanting this convention is going to need real money behind it."

List, is a senior advisor to the Las Vegas bid.

The CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., Sheldon Adelson is joined in his bid by the Las Vegas casino industry, including the leaders of the Caesar's Palace, MGM Grand and the Wynn, in a largely unified bid behind the city's 2016 bid.

The next convention will be held roughly two months earlier than the 2012 Tampa event. Transportation and hotel plans are the key ingredient for a successful bid after both failed miserably in Tampa.

But not surprisingly, money is the dominant concern. Most cities expect a convention price tag of between $55 million and $60 million.

Dallas is considered a major player in the competition and they are playing for keeps. Dallas committee CEO Phillip Jones said, "We have several powerful billionaire figures supporting our bid. If they want to play the billionaire game, we win."

Jones also pointed out that Las Vegas and Denver (not on the final list) recently legalized recreational marijuana. "No one's going to get into trouble having their meeting in Dallas," he said. "There are some cities we're competing with that have some significant messaging challenges."

Humm, might that mean Las Vegas Mr. Jones?

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