UPDATED, 3:30 PM: Many will say that image is everything and that's what killed Vegas. Maybe it played a role, maybe not.
But it's clear that the convention authority could not guarantee the venue during the accelerated timeline from the RNC -- they wanted to do in June -- and that not enough people wanted to pony up to give the RNC up-front money, as Dallas, for instance, has been willing to do.
"There wasn't any real appetite to buy into it," one insider with intimate knowledge told me. "Unless it's on your piece of dirt on the Strip, nobody cares."
Sheldon Adelson was willing to give his share, but not buy the entire thing, several sources told me.
But even if he had been willing, the venue is occupied in June.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who helmed the effort, lauded the convention authority team but said the venue "could not be provided" for the time period needed in June. "It was very clear that June was the preference of the RNC, so they could have a nominee earlier, and I can't disagree with that," Krolicki told me.
Krolicki said he believes the money eventually could have been raised -- "Las Vegas overperforms," he said. But the venue issue was impossible. And MGM could not guarantee a June opening for its new arena.
Just wait until 2020, he said, and everyone said, and yet.....
My reporting tells me this withdrawal was a done deal weeks ago, even though some holdouts within the Las Vegas team didn't want to surrender.
The letter below was sent Wednesday.
The decision was made awhile back as officials realized the uncertain arena situation and lack of guaranteed financing put the city behind Dallas and perhaps others. Discretion was the better part of valor for most involved as finalists announced Thursday.
A sad, dark, awful, humiliating day. I need Cliven Bundy to explain this.
May 21, 2014
The Honorable Enid Mickelsen
Chairman, Site Selection Committee
Republican National Committee
310 First Street SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
In discussions with your Site Selection Committee and other informed RNC sources over the past few weeks, it has become clearly evident to the Las Vegas 2016 Host Committee that two primary conditions must be fully met by any competing bid city if it is to successfully secure the eventual honor of hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention: The ability to provide a traditional arena facility to physically accommodate the convention; and an on-site preparatory period deemed sufficient by your technical consultants to comfortably allow for an anticipated convention commencement date in June of 2016. Las Vegas is currently unable to meet either one of these requirements.
On the basis of this understanding, the Las Vegas 2016 Host Committee has regrettably determined it necessary to defer our bid effort to the 2020 Republican National Convention opportunity when Las Vegas will potentially be in a position to guarantee these infrastructure and calendar bid requirements. We unwaveringly believe that Las Vegas offers the most compelling business, logistical and quality of experience reasons to be selected as the venue for a national political convention, but the members of the Las Vegas 2016 Host Committee respectfully defer to the determination of your Site Selection Committee and to the guidance from the RNC strictly adhering to these mandatory conditions.
The Las Vegas 2016 Host Committee is most appreciative of the opportunity to have engaged with you, your committee members and the technical advisory team during the past several months of this intense due diligence process. We fully support the essential work being dutifully performed by your Site Selection Committee, and we wish you the very best in your important task of determining a suitable site for the 2016 Republican National Convention.
The Honorable Brian Krolicki