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James' return to Cleveland could complicate GOP

LeBron James Returns To Cleveland


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Balloon drops might be competing with basketballs in Cleveland.

NBA superstar LeBron James' announcement Friday that he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA could throw up a roadblock for Republican plans to nominate their presidential contender in 2016 on Lake Erie's shores. If James leads his team into post-season play in 2016, Republicans could find their preferred June 28 start date for the convention impossible.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: LeBron James headed back to Cavs
VIDEO: Analysis by Sports Illustrated's Matt Dollinger
READ MORE: Clevelanders celebrate James' return

That leaves Republicans with the backup date of July 18 - still earlier than parties typically nominate their presidential hopeful in recent years, but later than RNC chief Reince Priebus preferred.

"All options remain on the table as we're still very early on in the negotiation process," RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said. "We're excited about Cleveland, and LeBron's return is further evidence that it's a city on the rise."

Priebus insisted his party's convention be scheduled for early summer of 2016, roughly two months sooner than has become the norm. That would give the GOP's next presidential nominee quicker access to tens of millions of dollars in general election cash.

"The candidate can be broke but they're not able to raise general election money until the convention is held," Priebus said earlier this week.

But James' return to the Cavaliers from the Miami Heat could complicate that timeline and perhaps Republican efforts to win the White House. Teams with James have made it to the league finals in five of the last eight seasons, and his move to Cleveland is unlikely to reverse that trend.



Cleveland on Tuesday won the unanimous backing of a RNC panel, all but guaranteeing the GOP's 2016 presidential pick will accept the party's nomination in perennially hard-fought Ohio. RNC lawyers are now in negotiations with Cleveland's organizing committee over the exact terms of the bid, including how many weeks of early and exclusive access Republicans can expect in the Cavaliers' arena.

If the RNC insists on its preferred date and weeks of early access to hang balloons and bunting, the Cavaliers could be forced to look at other venues for post-season play. Ohio State University's basketball arena in Columbus is one such option.

The full 168-member RNC is expected to finalize the deal next month.

Ohio's allure as a political prize proved tempting. The last candidate to win the White House without Ohio was John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, in 1960.

During the 2012 presidential race, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney made Ohio a central piece of their strategies. Combined, they spent $150 million on television ads and were frequent visitors to the state, which narrowly broke in Obama's favor.

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kb6771 July 11 2014 at 3:55 PM

Who wants to buy what the extreme right-wing tpublicans are selling: NO rights for women, minorities, or immigrants, No fair labor and living wage for the common man/woman, NNNNOOOO health care for the poor and middle class, NNNNOOOO voting rights for minorities and women! ALL they want to do is take us back to the 17th Century! We BUYING IT!

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1 reply
songbirdgray kb6771 July 11 2014 at 6:17 PM

ARE YOU SERIOUS I THINK YOU HAVE TAKEN LEAVE OF YOUR SENSES , IF YOU HAD ANY TO BEGIN WITH, THE REPUBLICANS ARE BETTER FOR THIS COUNTRY THAN LIBERALS WHO SEEM TO HAVE NO DECENT MORALS AT ALL, GET REAL AND WHO CARE WHAT THIS MAN DOES, IS SO INSIGNIFICANT THE EYES OF GODS , BASKETBSALL ISN'T PLAYED IN GOD HEAVENLY COURTS. NO, REPUBLICANS DO NOT BELIEVE IN LETTING THE COUNTRY HAVE NO SEXUAL MORALS AND HAVE OTHERS WHO DO PAY FOR IT , ALSO PEOPLE NEED JOBS AND THEN THEY CAN PAY FOR THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE AND THEIR FOOD AND SHELTER, NOT JUST SIT BACK ON THEIR HINDENDS AND DO NOTHING BUT SMOKE THAT LEGALIZED POT! GET REAL, LIBERALS ARE YOUR ENEMY, NOT REPUBLICANS WHO ARE SANE.

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trconsulting July 11 2014 at 3:14 PM

Republican'ts are themselves inconvenient. I shed no tears about them being inconvenienced and will be hoping that Cleveland plays well enough to cause it to happen.

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1 reply
songbirdgray trconsulting July 11 2014 at 6:19 PM

WE SEE WHERE YOUR PRIORTIES LIE, YOU CARE ABOUT NOTHING THAT IS CONSEQUENTIAL , YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE , GET A LIFE!

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Michael July 11 2014 at 4:09 PM

Yes basketball championship is definitely more important than a circus.

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mhdjl July 11 2014 at 5:17 PM

The Republican convention is two years away. A lot can happen before then, such as LeBron leaving Cleveland again. Also, nothing says that the Cleveland team will even make the playoffs at that time, with or without him.

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ram4131 July 11 2014 at 4:58 PM

How pathetic is it that an NBA team might disrupt a political pep rally.

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lawoff414 July 11 2014 at 5:11 PM

Only an idiot would equate a basketball player changing teams with politics. Anyone, from either party, that does this has no regard for the issues facing this country.

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Sean July 11 2014 at 3:37 PM

Not for nothing, but are they sure they'll have an actual candidate that early? When will the last of the primaries and caucases be over and done with?

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1 reply
dgoffnspector Sean July 11 2014 at 5:26 PM

They assume that one will be left standing, following the circular firing squad.

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bittersdad July 11 2014 at 5:27 PM

Politics and Sports.
I know I am real concerned about the well being of both.
How about we care about somebody other than over paid idiots

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grayintruder July 11 2014 at 5:57 PM

YOU ARE NOT BUYING ANYTHING ! THE LEFT WING GOVERNMENT IS GIVING IT TO YOU AT MY AND ALL THE RIGHT WINGERS EXPENSE. AND YOU ARE NOT WELCOME !

Flag Reply 0 rate up
redchips July 11 2014 at 6:25 PM

Wow! This left wing rag will try to do anything to make conservatives look bad. Sad!!

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