Las Vegas’ Bid to Host 2016 GOP Convention Could be Bad News for Salt Lake

If you’re hoping Salt Lake City is able to land the 2016 GOP convention, the news that Las Vegas may be jumping into the fray should dampen that enthusiasm.

John Ralston reports the bid by Las Vegas should be taken very seriously, mostly because billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn would open their checkbooks to make the bid happen. Plus, Republicans would do well to hold the convention in a swing state.

Remember how we all scoffed in 2007 when we heard that the Democrats were trying to get Nevada as an early caucus state to make us a real player in presidential politics? But the Democrats had a slightly influential guy named Harry Reid carrying that water and he delivered. Who do the Republicans have for this heavy lift?

It’s a pretty impressive team. The two most prominent casino barons, who have given tens of millions to the GOP and can buy a lot of favor.  A Hispanic governor with stratospheric popularity ratings (image is everything, another Nevada guy once said). GOP consultants Ryan Erwin, Mike Slanker and Adelson lieutenant Andy Abboud, who know a thing or two. Jack St. Martin, who, as Wilson pointed out, is an old GOP hand and knows how to count RNC votes. And Charlie Spies, a DC lawyer/lobbyist with ties to Nevada who can help from the right coast.

Then there is the man leading the bid, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who may have found the job he was born to do. The man who has been Sandoval’s understudy – and will be again in 2016 against Reid and if the governor demurs, he won’t – is a natural-born salesman, with that ready smile, ingratiating manner and preternatural affability.