Delegates from Ohio hold letter balloons at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa, Florida, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. Delegates are gathered in Tampa at the 40th Republican National Convention to select former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as their nominee for the next president of the United States. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Cleveland Won't Win Ohio for Republicans

Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was formerly the executive editor of Bloomberg News, directing coverage of the Washington bureau.
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Don't count on Cleveland to deliver Ohio for the next Republican presidential candidate.

The Republican National Committee's selection of the city to host the 2016 nominating convention today instantly set off speculation that the purpose was to win the swing state's 18 Electoral College votes. Starting in 1964, Ohio has voted for the winner in every presidential contest.

History, however, suggests the convention venue usually has little bearing on the outcome. The last four Republican conventions have been held in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), New York (New York City), Minnesota (St. Paul) and Florida (Tampa.) The Republican candidate failed to carry those states in each of those general elections.

In modern times, the only locale that arguably affected the November election was the Republicans' decision to go to Detroit in 1980. It conveyed a message that the party was more than the suburban-sunbelt stereotype; it may have helped Ronald Reagan carry Michigan months later.

Cleveland resembles Detroit of that era. The city is often ridiculed for a variety of ills, including its politics and its professional sports teams. These days, Cleveland is experiencing a bit of a renaissance that Republicans hope will offer them a chance for a 1980-style message.

But when it comes to politics, Ohio is as purple -- tilting slightly blue -- today as it was yesterday.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Albert R Hunt at

To contact the editor on this story:
Max Berley at