, California
San Diego Convention Center
August 12th - 15th 1996

Presidential Nominee:
Robert J. Dole of Kansas
Vice Presidential Nominee:
Jack Kemp of Maryland
 
Despite having one of the highest populations in the United States, and being home to voters of many voting blocs, California has not held all that many National Political Conventions for the two major parties. Not since the mid 1960's has there been a Republican Convention in the Golden State, and in the case of San Diego, never before. The closest attempts in securing this city for a site were in 1972, and 1992, though both fell through. In 1996, San Diego finally beat the odds, besting metropolises with such upscale facilities as New York, and pre-Katrina New Orleans. Of course, the GOP had a couple good reasons for selecting San Diego.

For one thing, the state of California held contained vast political possibilities. In addition to wielding 54 electoral votes at the time in the general election, it also it is notable population center in the United States. As such, there were some influential blocs of groups which could be critical in the election. The Grand Old Party had set its sights on making a favorable impression on the growing Latino community in a city. Plus, solid military and commercial presence meant a strong bastion of conservative support and a potential myriad of donors.

Furthermore, according to a CNN report, San Diego spent half a year in its case to convince the Republican National Convention Committee to accept the location. Officials even created a video with appearances by Ronald Reagan and former San Diego mayor Pete Wilson. The intention to select San Diego's Convention Center was announced in January 1995.

The center itself boasted a seating availability numbering near 19,500. This meant that some of the expected 30,000 plus people had to take advantage of the "interactive alternative viewing venue" -a euphemism for a large screen television presenting the show outside the complex. . The city of San Diego, offered roughly 6 million in services, such as fire protection and rubbish disposal and other necessary services. Naturally, there were other costs involved and conventions being a lavish ordeal expensive, a substantial quantity of funding had to be acquired. The federal government provided approximately 12 million. Still, much of the fund raising was left to a host committee, which relied on deep-pocketed benefactors, such as the sports company Callaway (which endowed $100,000) to supplement the fund.

Important names for the convention were Next Gingrich (the Convention Chairman), William Greener III (the convention manager), the candidates Robert Dole and his vice president selection Jack Kemp. Reportedly, Dole had asked former four star General Colin Powell, but had been refused.George Bush Sr., Gerald Ford, Nancy Reagan, also added to the festivities, and Staten Island Representative Susan Molinari gave the keynote address. 996 delegate votes were needed to hold the majority and clinch the nomination, which Dole gained.



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