Tue., 11:58am: UPDATE-RNC chooses Cleveland

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Republican National Committee panel has chosen Cleveland over Dallas to host the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential convention.

The Republicans’ site selection committee met today to review the two remaining cities’ bids. The full 168-member RNC is expected to ratify the choice next month.

The plans are for the GOP convention to begin June 27 or July 18, 2016.

Paying for the convention was the top criterion for the 12-member site selection committee. The previous two GOP conventions have sapped party dollars during election years and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus had insisted the host city not leave the central party picking up the tab, which is expected to be around $60 million.

Officials involved in the process who described the deliberations insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the internal process publicly by name.

Ohio is a perennially hard-fought state in presidential campaigns. No Republican has captured the White House without Ohio since Abraham Lincoln in 1860. The last candidate to win the White House without Ohio was John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, in 1960.

The RNC dispatched advisers to Cleveland last week for a second visit to review technical aspects of a potential convention there, officials said.