Officials are in the early stages of deciding if Salt Lake City wants to compete for the 2012 Republican National Convention — so early, in fact, that they have not yet formed a bid committee to decide.
Salt Lake City was invited by the Republican National Committee to attend an "interested parties" presentation in Washington, D.C., three weeks ago, said Scott Beck, president and chief executive officer of the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Beck attended, along with a representative from the governor's office. There, they learned what requirements in terms of amenities a host city would have to have in order to land the convention and were given the official request for proposal. They concluded Salt Lake City could do it, but no decision about applying has been made, Beck said.
"We absolutely have the physical capacity, and having hosted the Olympics makes us a very, very viable city," he said.
Any bid to serve as host city must, per GOP requirements, come from a bid committee, and Beck said he doesn't believe such a committee has even been formed.
Besides the dozen or so cities that attended the interested-parties gathering, Beck said bids could easily come from cities that have bid before and didn't have to attend the D.C. meeting.
Before the GOP convention in 2008, Salt Lake City was invited to attend a similar preliminary meeting but did not. It has never bid for the GOP convention, he said.
"It'd be quite an honor to have it here," said state GOP Chairman Dave Hansen. But he said he doesn't expect that to happen.
"I doubt if we would get it here, quite honestly," Hansen said, noting he's heard that Tampa, Fla., is a leading contender for the 2012 convention.
Cities that are interested in competing for the convention must let the RNC search committee know by Jan. 15, Beck said.