• What Does the 2016 Republican National Convention Mean for Ohio Residents?
  • July 19, 2016 | Author: Milos Gvozdenovic
  • Law Firm: Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A. - Brooklyn Heights Office
  • From the moment it was announced in July 2014 that Cleveland, Ohio would be the host city for the 2016 Republican National Convention, speculation began as to what it meant for both the city and the state of Ohio. This is an exciting time for local residents regardless of their political affiliation. But despite all the predictions, the impact locally is still greatly unknown. We may not have a concrete answer until the convention begins. But, we can look now at what has transpired up until this point, and look at the history of the convention to gain a better idea of what to expect this summer.

    The event itself will host an estimated 50,000 attendees. This does not include politicians, security staff and protesters, who will likely make their way to Cleveland in the days, or weeks, leading up to the convention. This year’s Republican primary gained the attention of the mass media due to unique candidates and the controversy surrounding them. As a result, the voter turnout in this year’s primary election rivals that of the record set in 2008.1 As of March 8, 2016, approximately 29 percent of eligible voters have turned out for both party primaries, just shy of the 30.4 percent record mark.2

    A look back at the financial impact on Tampa, Florida during the 2012 Republican National Convention helps for comparison in figuring out the impact these voters will have on the city. A study by The University of Tampa revealed that $363.5 million in taxable sales across the region were made during the convention and the attendees filled 92 percent of the region’s hotel beds.3 In similar fashion, Cleveland is quickly approaching maximum hotel capacity to accommodate the 15,000-plus rooms the Republican Party requested of cities bidding for the convention.4 Bars and restaurants close to Quicken Loans Arena, where the event will take place, have also been rented out for private events; therefore, access to the general public may be limited.5

    In addition to the national exposure and profitability of the event, there are also security concerns. As with any large event, extensive coordination among law enforcement is needed to ensure civility and safety for all convention participants and local residents. With the rise in global terror and the controversy surrounding this year’s Republican candidates, law enforcement may be on high alert. Because of the size and prominence of the convention, it has been designated a National Special Security Event by the Secret Service.6 This means national security has been authorized to lead security efforts at the event and the event is eligible for an estimated $50 million in federal security funding.7

    Although security specifics are confidential, this will be a massive effort encompassing the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the Cleveland Police Department and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department.8 The city itself will need to security a force of 4,000 to 5,000 officers, and assistance from out-of-state departments may be required to meet that quota.9 In addition to manpower, the Cleveland Police Department is also in need of equipment. Cleveland police are ordering 2,000 sets of riot suits, 16 police motorcycles, 300 patrol bicycles, 310 sets of bicycle riot control gear, three horse trailers, 500 interlocking steel barriers that are 6½ feet high and 2,000 shorter steel barriers.10

    No matter what the outcome of the event, the national spotlight will shine on Ohio and the city of Cleveland. With the world’s eyes upon Cleveland, residents who participate in the convention in any capacity should conduct themselves in a respectable manner.

    1 Desilver, Drew. "So Far, Turnout in This Year’s Primaries Rivals 2008 Record." Pew Research Center RSS. Pew Research Center, 08 Mar. 2016. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.
    2 Id.
    3 Wiatrowski, Kevin. "RNC's Economic Impact on Tampa: $404 Million." TBO.com. Tampa Tribune, 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.
    4 Tobias, Andrew J. "Nearly All Cleveland Hotel Rooms Are Already Booked for 2016 Republican National Convention." Cleveland.com. N.p., 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
    5 Crea, Joe. "Downtown Cleveland Restaurants Line up Private Events for This Summer's Republican National Convention." Cleveland.com. N.p., 26 Feb. 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
    6 Andrew J. Tobias, Northeast Ohio Media Group. "Secret Service Agent Vague on Security Planning Efforts for 2016 Republican National Convention." N.p., 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
    7 Id.
    8 Id.
    9 Jan, Tracy. "Cleveland Prepares for GOP Convention Unrest - The Boston Globe." BostonGlobe.com. N.p., 19 Mar. 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
    10 Id.