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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Cincy makes the first cut for 2016 GOP convention

Ann Thompson

Cincinnati made the first cut of cities vying for the 2016 Republican National Convention, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced this afternoon.

Eight cities from around the country made formal presentations to the RNC’s site selection committee last month;  and two of them were eliminated by the committee today – Columbus and Phoenix.

But Cincinnati, which wants to hold the convention at US Bank Arena, was one of six to survive the first cut – a list that also included Cleveland.

The other cities making the cut were Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas.

“I’m delighted,’’ said Hamilton County Republican Party chairman Alex Triantafilou, who is a leader of Cincy2016, the committee working on bringing the convention here. “We’re still alive

Members of Cincy2016, in a press conference at city hall this afternoon, said that Cincinnati will get an official visit from the RNC soon.

A press release from Cincy2016 said the RNC "will travel to Cincinnati to conduct a technical site visit where they will take an in-depth assessment of our area's financing, convention venues, media workspace, and hotels."

Enid Mickelsen, who chairs the site selection committee, said the committee conducted a “painstaking review” of all eight cities’ applications.

“The eyes of the world will be on the RNC and our host city in the summer of 2016, and these six cities have shown they have what it takes to move forward,’’ Mickelsen said.

A final decision on which city will land the convention is not expected until late summer or early fall.

Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau, who was a key player in putting together Cincinnati's bid, said in a written statement that he is "more confident than ever" that Cincinnati will land the convention.

"We felt all along that Cincinnati has one of the most competitive bids in this process,'' Lincoln said.

The convention would bring between 50,000 to 65,000 people to the city; and would likely generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million for area businesses.

The Cincy2016 presentation to the RNC made the point that 41 percent of the delegates and alternates could be housed in hotels within walking distance of US Bank Arena.

The rest would have no more than a 15 to 20 minute shuttle bus ride to the convention site.

Matt Borges, the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, put out a statement today saying the state party would "do everything we can to support Cincinnati's and Cleveland's bids for the convention."

"While we are disappointed that Columbus did not advance, today's results make it clear that Ohio is an important state with vibrant cities,'' Borges said.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.