COLUMBUS - Though Columbus was rejected as a site for the 2016 Republican National Convention, tourism officials say they will now focus on luring the Democrats.
Officials said they will try to capitalize on the national media exposure garnered for the city during its bid for the GOP event. Last week, the GOP eliminated Columbus while keeping Cincinnati and Cleveland alive as possible convention sites.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the city had pledged a total of $250,000 toward efforts to bring either convention to town in 2016, and the money left will now be used to compete for the Democratic convention.
Brian Ross, CEO of the tourism bureau Experience Columbus, says a political convention would bring $150 million to $200 million and 45,000 people to central Ohio.
``This is our Super Bowl,'' Ross said.
The Republicans said cities needed to raise $56 million toward hosting the convention. Ross said the Democrats' request probably will be for a similar amount.
The city has raised that much in commitments - $10 million from JobsOhio and the rest from state and national donors - and plans now to put those commitments toward the DNC bid. None of that money is in pocket, Ross said.
Columbus was eliminated last week as a possible host for the GOP convention, along with Phoenix. In addition to Cleveland and Cincinnati, four other cities are still in the running - Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Mo., and Las Vegas.
Ryan Mahoney, a spokesman for the RNC, said the committee wouldn't comment on why Columbus failed in its bid. A news release called it a ``great American city.''