A tale of 2 cities: Presidential conventions focus on swing states

(AP file)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – National political conventions are often considered infomercials for the major party’s candidates, but this year the events will also let Democrats and Republicans focus on two critical swing states.

The GOP convention is set to begin Monday, July 18, in Cleveland, Ohio. The Buckeye State has 18 electoral votes up for grabs in November and could be the key to victory if Republicans have any shot at taking back the White House.

“Where else would you want to put your convention other than a critical swing state?” said Dr. Allan Lichtman, a professional political scientist with American University. Democrats are set to kick off their nominating convention on July 25 in Philadelphia.

During the last several cycles of presidential elections, both parties have hosted conventions in cities that offer both widespread media attention and the chance to reach undecided voters in key states.

“Democrats need to win at least one (swing state), Republicans need to win at least two of those states to get an electoral college majority,” added Lichtman.

The national nominating conventions bring a massive economic impact to the hosting cities in addition to serious challenges to a community’s traffic, security and infrastructure. In Cleveland, the city is expecting an estimated 50,000 visitors and media from all over the world. 2016 will mark the fourth time the Republican Party will host a convention in Ohio. The Buckeye State played host to the 1876, 1924 and 1936 GOP conventions.

For the latest on where things stand in the race for the White House, follow @markpmeredith on Twitter

Democratic Conventions of Years Past:

  • 2012: Charlotte, N.C.
  • 2008: Denver
  • 2004: Boston
  • 2000: Los Angeles

Republican Conventions of Years Past:

  • 2012: Tampa, Fla.
  • 2008: St. Paul, Minn.
  • 2004: New York
  • 2000: Philadelphia

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