CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Around 250 Republicans from all over the country are spending this week in Charlotte for the party's annual Winter Meeting.
The host city for the 2016 Republican National Convention will not be decided at the winter meeting -- it isn't even on the agenda for discussion -- but it definitely is on the minds of North Carolina's Republicans.
"If you see Charlotte, you're bound to love it. All these folks here now is definitely a plus for us," said N.C. GOP Chair Robin Hayes. "We're plugging it every chance we get."
Local elected officials have said in the past that the city would at least try for the 2016 RNC. Official bids won't be submitted until later this year. Still, the exposure gained from this week, and during the Democratic National Convention last year, is not lost on party members.
"I was actually here for the DNC," said Republican strategist Hogan Gidley. "The entire city was lit up and it was done well. The city seems to want us here too. We'll see what happens."
South Carolina GOP Vice-Chair Edward Cousar said he was sure Charlotte could handle the RNC, but admitted he wanted the 2016 convention to be held in a bigger city.
"I've been to four conventions," explained Cousar. "Transportation was an issue in Tampa. Everything seemed to go a little better in that department at the New York convention. I still think Charlotte would be a good location, but I would like to see what the other options are too."
Hayes noted the fact Charlotte was chosen as the winter meeting location could be a good sign. He said other state officials, including former Charlotte Mayor and current N.C. Governor Pat McCrory, expected to spend a good amount of time "talking up" the city.
Hayes thinks the November 2012 election results may also put Charlotte in good favor with the RNC.
"It's the only true swing state that went our way in the Presidential election. Plus we have a good Republican governor in office now and the House and Senate."
The RNC isn't expected to announce the convention site until 2014.