Can Sin City woo the Religious Right? The Battle Born State may or may not become a battleground state for the 2024 presidential election. However, Nevada stands to receive a little more attention in the next election cycle if Las Vegas lands either the Republican or Democratic national conventions. And some news emerging Monday shortened the odds of that happening.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman issued a statement on Twitter Monday saying officials from the Republican National Committee sent her a letter asking if the city would be interested in being on the shortlist of sites party officials consider for the next nominating convention.
In the statement, she said she expects Democrats to come forward with interest as well.
To me, this request is not about politics, it’s about bringing millions of dollars in convention business back to our local economy,” she said. “No one does conventions and conferences better than Las Vegas does, and our community is ready for this major economic boost.”
A spokesperson for Mayor Goodman confirmed to Casino.org that the mayor would tout the region in the application. That would mean a site like T-Mobile Arena could be considered.
Las Vegas is the premier destination for business and conventions. The Republican National Committee understands this and has asked Las Vegas to respond to a bid for the 2024 national convention. Las Vegas is open for business. @gop @GOPChairwoman pic.twitter.com/P4CSrC7hB9
— Carolyn G. Goodman (@mayoroflasvegas) September 27, 2021
Goodman, a political independent, isn’t the only one calling for Republicans to have a grand ol’ time on the Strip. Nevada Republican State Chairman Michael J. McDonald said he’s brought up the topic before.
“When I pitched Las Vegas to the RNC for the 2020 convention my main point was that no one can do conventions like Vegas does,” McDonald said in a statement on Facebook. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Mayor Goodman, other elected officials, and local business leaders to put together a strong team to bring this convention to Las Vegas, Nevada.”
Political Conventions Offer Big Return
If major sporting events, like the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, can now pick Las Vegas without getting criticized, then it only makes sense that political parties would look that way, too.
The political conventions, once a major television production every four years, have seen their importance reduced as the 24/7 news cycle established roots and political news outlets emerged on TV and online. However, a glitzy backdrop like the Las Vegas Strip might be the kind of scene that jumpstarts interest in them.
And even in recent – nonpandemic – election years, the conventions still have brought thousands of visitors and millions of dollars in economic impact to the cities that host them. According to ESI EConsult Solutions Inc., the 2016 Republican convention in Cleveland drew a total of 50,000 visitors. In downtown Cleveland, 5,000 hotel rooms were requested, and another 16,000 were sought in the suburbs.
In all, attendees spent $180 million during the 2016 convention.
By comparison, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimated the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show had 170,000 attendees. Those visitors accounted for $169 million in direct spending.
Can Republicans Win in Nevada?
One factor parties typically take into consideration – although it’s not a deal-breaker – is if the site could be a swing state in the election. While Nevada only offers six electoral college votes, in a race that will likely come down to the last states reporting, the state will be critical for both parties in their race to 270 votes.
Most political pundits consider Nevada a bellwether state when it comes to presidential politics. Only twice since 1912 has the state not voted for the eventual winner. In 1976, voters backed Gerald Ford over Jimmy Carter by less than 8,800 votes (or 4.4 percentage points). Five years ago, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by just more than 27,200 votes (or 2.4 percentage points).
Once a Republican stronghold, Democrats have taken over as the state’s population has exploded over the past 30 years. Since 1992, Democratic candidates have won six of the eight presidential elections in Nevada. The exceptions were George W. Bush victories in 2000 and 2004.
An indicator for Republican success may come next year when Democratic incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak likely runs for re-election. It’s uncertain who he may face from the Republican Party. A potential challenger may be former US Sen. Dean Heller, who lost the 2018 US senate race to Jacky Rosen.
It still may be an uphill battle for Republicans. Because even as Sisolak has faced criticism for closing down casinos and other businesses last year and reinstating mask mandates this year, he remains a popular figure. While an OH Predictive Insights poll from July found Democrats held just a 41-39 edge over Republicans as far as which party should lead the state, Sisolak himself enjoys a 52 percent favorability rating. Neither Heller nor former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, two likely competitors for the GOP nomination, have favorability ratings higher than 36 percent in the poll.
Trump Still a Solid Favorite for ’24 GOP Nod
As far as 2024 goes, the convention is still nearly three years away. But that has never stopped the traders at PredictIt from making wagers about the future races. And right now, traders at the online site tab former President Trump as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.
POTUS 45’s shares traded at 42 cents each late Monday night. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was next at 22 cents a share. No other candidate right now has a price above 10 cents a share. The winning candidate has their shares payout at $1 each. So, a candidate whose shares sell for 10 cents would have +900 odds. And one at 50 cents would have even-money odds.
Offshore, where sportsbooks offer wagers on elections, Trump (+125) and DeSantis (+500) had similar odds at Sportsbetting.ag. In England, on Betfair’s sportsbook page, Trump is the +150 favorite and DeSantis is again at +500.
One thing that would work in Las Vegas’ favor if Trump tries to win back the Oval Office is that he’s already got a place to stay for the convention, with the Trump International Las Vegas, which the Trump Organization owns with gaming mogul Phil Ruffin.
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