(Washington) - Ohio's three flagship cities - Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati - have been named finalists in the competition to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney says the others are Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

It's the first time in modern memory that all three have bid to host the convention in the same year.

Mahoney tells Newsradio WTAM 1100 it's their largest number of bids since 2000. All the cities will make presentations to the RNC on Monday.

Later in the spring, the finalists will be announced, with party leaders visiting those cities before they make a final decision.

Mahoney says the winner is expected to be announced in late autumn.

State party and city leaders are counting on Ohio's pivotal role in electing presidents to boost the chances that the party will pick one of their cities for its biggest event.

(Photo by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

No republican has ever won the white house without carrying the state, and few Democrats have.

Backers see the convention as a potential boon for tourism.

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