If they wanted to, they could make Ohio a real battleground in 2016.
The state that has voted the way the nation has voted in every presidential election since 1964 has a couple of cities in contention for the presidential nominating conventions of 2016:
Cleveland and Colmbus are among the six bidding for the Democratic National Convention, the party announced today. And the Republican National Committee already has narrowed its search to four, including Cleveland.
Ohio is an easy call for the Democrats: President Barack Obama won by four percentage points there in 2008 and by two points in 2012.
It’s a tougher call for the Republicans.
Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County has been the most reliably Democratic base in the state for presidential candidates for several elections. And in Columbus’s Franklin County, Obama won re-election with more than 300,000 votes over Republican Mitt Romney in 2012.
The Republicans have a modern history of taking their conventions to states they’d love to, and need to, win.
It didn’t work out so well for them in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2008, though. For all the fervor that nominee John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, stirred on stage at the convention there, the party lost the state by 10 percentage points. And when they took their convention to swing-state Florida in 2012, Obama carried the Sunshine State once again.
The Democrats did somewhat better with this tactic in 2008, taking their convention to Denver — in a state that Republican George W. Bush had carried twice, by just over 50 percentage points in 2000 and 2004. Obama parlayed his mile-high nomination into a nine-point win there. Though his bid to hold on to North Carolina, which Obama won in 2008, wasn’t aided by his 2012 Charlotte convention.
If they’re going to take another stab at winning a tough state with a convention there, the Republicans could place a mile-high wager on Denver, one of the four vying for the party’s party.
Contender Dallas seems so safe for them, as does Kansas City.
And if the Democrats want to roll the dice, they could sign up Birmingham — uh, no.
They also could accept Phoenix’s bid — in a state where Republicans have won by about 10 percentage points for some time now.
They, too, seem so safe in New York and Philadelphia, two of the six in contention.
Which brings us back to the state that has called the presidential election since 1964, the one both parties want to win in 2016, the one without which no Republican has won the White House.
An Ohio double-header, perhaps two busy weeks in Cleveland.
It’d be great for the town’s economy.