Seattle among 24 cities asked to apply to host GOP convention

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

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SEATTLE —

Seattle is used to making "best of" lists of all kinds.

But for this city known for  left-wing May Day protests and WTO riots to make the cut to potentially host the Grand Old Party's 2016 convention -- well, that comes as a bit of a shock.

"I'm very surprised," said Ed Murray, who is just two days into his new job as Seattle's mayor, but he thinks the GOP could learn a thing or two from the Emerald City.

List of 24 cities bidding for 2016 GOP Convention

"It certainly would be an opportunity for us to show the Republican Party how a progressive, Democratic city can have a strong, vibrant economy and still deal with social services for those most in need," said Murray.

"I think he flatters himself to say that a progressive city is satisfying the needs of all social services," retorts state GOP chair Susan Hutchison.

Still, Hutchison said her party doesn't need to limit its reach to just red states.

"We're strong enough," said Hutchison.  "We're bold enough. We can go anywhere in the country."

But can Seattle handle a huge political convention?

"I think we're a bit too small for the GOP, unfortunately."

Visit Seattle's David Blandford said the GOP would need an 18,000-seat arena. Key Arena holds just 15,000 people.   The proposed Sonics Arena would fit the bill but it is years from being built, if at all.  And there are the thousands of hotel rooms the convention would scarf up during Seattle's high season.

"Certainly the worldwide exposure that this could bring to our city would be fantastic," said Blandford.  "That is a really exciting prospect.  It's just a matter of being physically able to do it."

And Blandford says Seattle can't -- yet. 

He said the city will send a formal reply to the GOP because it is a compliment just to be considered.