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For GOP, Las Vegas just makes sense


Longtime political and corporate pollster Frank Luntz is uncertain whether Las Vegas will land the 2016 Republican National Convention, but he has five reasons why it makes sense.

In a telephone interview, Luntz, who moved to Las Vegas late last year, listed his reasons:

1. “Best hotels in America. Even an average Las Vegas hotel is better than most hotels in other cities. And when you have delegations that don’t want to stay in a Motor Inn, don’t want to stay in a Motel 6, Las Vegas has enough great hotels that everyone can get a great first or second choice.”

2. “Las Vegas knows more about service than any other city in America. It has schools devoted, master’s degrees devoted to customer service. Political delegates can be pretty demanding and ask for things and expect them immediately. Vegas knows how to deliver.”

3. “The food. There are more great restaurants per square mile in the two miles of the Strip than in any other city than New York. But you can actually get in. In these other cities being considered, you could name the great restaurants on one hand. In Vegas, you need both hands, both feet and somebody else’s.”

4. “Convenience. Delegates aren’t the thinnest or trimmest, and nobody likes to walk more than they have to. In Vegas, everything is right there, and each hotel would have half a dozen delegations. So if you don’t like your party, just go to the delegation right next to you, and if you don’t like it, there are four more to choose from.”

5. “I live there. And it’s the first and only time in my life I’d actually be able to go to a convention in my home city and sleep in my own bed. And hopefully my condo will be as nice as any hotel.”

Luntz said he shared the above thoughts with the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce during a meeting in Washington, D.C., about two weeks ago.

“There will be people who see the Vegas of 20 to 30 years ago and say no,” he said. “That’s the challenge for Vegas. It has more supporters than any place else, but it will have its detractors.

“They may be concerned with the narrative,” he said.

But, he added, “How awesome would it be to come to Harry Reid’s home and, every single night, knock on those doors and say, ‘Wake up, Harry. We have something to tell you.’ ”

Putting the convention in Las Vegas could pay dividends for years for Republicans, said Luntz, who estimates 98 percent of his business is corporate and the rest political.

“The city was hurt deeply by what Barack Obama said back in 2009, telling people not to come to Vegas,” Luntz said. “And look at how many conventions stayed away and how many hotel nights were left vacant, how many restaurants had to struggle as a result.

“This is a chance to come back and make the city whole. Democrats may have done the damage, but this is a great opportunity for the Republicans to repair that damage.”

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Rumors are flying that a film crew for Anthony Bourdain’s Esquire Network show “The Getaway” might be showing up at jazz/swing vocalist Laura Shaffer’s show tonight at the Tuscany Suites. Bourdain met Shaffer shooting a segment for his Las Vegas “Parts Unknown” episode in November at the Bootlegger Bistro.

SIGHTINGS

Boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr., throwing an appreciation dinner for 250 friends in a private room at the Bootlegger Bistro on Friday. ... At a 50th birthday party for actress Lela Rochon at Andrea’s (Encore) on Friday: Star Jones and actresses Holly Robinson Peete, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Loretta Devine, among 20 attendees. ... Rex Lee of “Entourage” and Ryan Kwanten of “True Blood,” at Beacher’s Madhouse on Friday night. ... Rapper Coolio and record producer Wade Martin, in the front row at Gordie Brown’s show at Golden Nugget on Friday. Later, Brown was at Hakkasan (MGM Grand), hanging out with DJ Steve Aoki.

THE PUNCH LINE

“This year’s Easter Sunday happens to fall on the same day as the marijuana holiday 4/20. Which means no matter what your religion, this Sunday you’re probably going to see a giant bunny.” — Conan O’Brien

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.