Cleveland and Dallas the finalists for 2016 GOP convention

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(CNN) — It’s down to the final two.

The Republican National Committee announced Wednesday that Cleveland and Dallas are the finalists to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Following a meeting of the RNC’s Site Selection Committee, the two other cities that had been in contention, Denver and Kansas City, were dropped.

“Cleveland and Dallas demonstrated their ability to host a phenomenal convention in 2016, and the RNC is excited about the prospect of hosting our convention in either of these great cities. After visiting both cities, I can say to my fellow Republicans that we should be excited for the 2016 convention. These world class cities know how to roll out the welcome mat, and more importantly they have the ability to provide our next presidential nominee a launching pad that will put a Republican in the White House in 2016,” said selection committee chair Enid Mickelsen said in a statement.

Phoenix, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio were previous dropped from contention.

The RNC’s expected to choose the host city by late summer or early fall.

For a city, a convention is a costly affair as the host is expected to raise upwards of $60 million to help pay for it. But if managed correctly, a convention pays off as the surrounding communities are flooded with as many as 50,000 new visitors and the area is showcased on an international stage for weeks leading up to the event.

In January the RNC the approved a rule change that would move the date of the GOP convention from its usual time slot of late August or early September to as early as late June.

Cleveland gives the Republicans a chance to hold their nominating convention in Ohio, a crucial battleground state. Dallas does not provide that option, as Texas has long been a reliable red state.

Dallas last hosted a GOP convention in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan was renominated. The last time Cleveland had the honor of hosting a Republican convention: 1936.

Six cities are bidding to host the 2016 Democratic National Committee. The six cities are Birmingham, Alabama, Cleveland, Columbus, New York City, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

The Democratic National Committee says its Technical Advisory Committee will visit all six cities this summer. The DNC plans to have a final decision by late this year or early 2015.