Awards & Events

‘Ripple Effect’ of GOP Convention to Benefit Valley

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – When the Republican National Convention comes to Cleveland next year, the impact – in terms of the attention brought to northeastern Ohio and the economic boost – will reach the Mahoning Valley.

The projected impact on the region of the eight-day event is $400 million, with some estimates indicating that $250 million would benefit Cleveland directly. The remaining $150 million would be seen in cities such as Youngstown and Akron.

“You’ll get the ripple effect from that. There will be the ripple effect from people driving through here – I think more people will travel by car because of the location – and I think every community is looking for ways to promote themselves for [the convention],” said JoAnn Davidson, Ohio’s national committeewoman for the Republican Party and co-chairman of  the convention.

“People will come from all areas of the country and they’ll all be close to you.”

Davidson addressed the Mahoning County Republican Party at last night’s Lincoln Day Dinner held at the Georgetown Banquet Center.

Another benefit to the Valley will be coverage of the event, which will attract reporters from around the world, she said. It’s not just bringing national attention to the area, but international attention as well,” she said. “Just from the number of articles when Cleveland was announced as the location [for the convention], we can’t buy that kind of publicity that reaches around the world.”

The 2016 convention, July 18-21, is expected to bring 50,000 people to the region, including 15,000 reporters and their supporting staff plus 5,000 to 10,000 protesters.

While couldn’t offer how many of that number would come to the Mahoning Valley, she emphasized 50,000 is a very substantial audience.

“It depends on who drives through your community, who stops for lunch, who stops for gas, who stops to buy something. A lot of the people come early and do some traveling in Ohio. Some people will stay after it wraps up,” she said. “Having 50,000 people in your state that aren’t usually here, in the tourism business, is a pretty good crowd.”

Mark Munroe, chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party, added that the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber is working making sure the Valley is involved in the convention.

“It’ll be a great boon to the Cleveland area, but how much of that will come down to the Valley is hard to say. We do have hotels, thanks in part to development to Austintown, and resources right here in the Valley.”

Munroe has attended two national party conventions. Being only an hour’s drive from the convention, he’s sure that representatives from Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley will serve as support staff.

“It takes a lot of manpower and volunteers to put one on,” Munroe said. “We’re going to get many requests for volunteers and we have plenty of people willing and anxious to help.”

Davidson, who worked on the 2000 presidential campaign of John Kasich, said the governor hasn’t decided on whether he will run for president.

“He’s still seriously considering it,” she said. “It gives him time to travel – he’s been the New Hampshire and South Carolina a couple of times – and spread the Ohio story.”

While Davidson is not formally involved with Kasich’s 527 group, she said she will support him if he runs.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.