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PHOENIX -- One Valley publicist believes Phoenix has a good chance of landing the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Gordon James, owner of a public relations firm, spearheaded Phoenix's efforts to land the 2012 convention that was held last week in Tampa. Phoenix and Salt Lake City were among the finalists.

"I think Tampa won out because they had attempted to get this three different times," he said. "The third time was the charm."

James said Phoenix should shoot to host the 2016 convention.

"We've been very encouraged by those Arizonans who attended the convention in Tampa," he said. "We've had several people who have called us and said 'Shoot, Phoenix has everything that Tampa had and then some.' I certainly hope that we can put a strong team together and, when the time's appropriate, start working on this and put our oar in the water."

James said the city will have to start working on its effort in the next 12 months.

"The Republican Selection Committee probably won't get organized for about 24 to 30 months from now," he said. "But we will want to let the Republican National Committee know that we are interested about a year from now."

But there could be a hurdle: Phoenix may have to overcome the controversy over SB 1070.

"To be honest with you, I don't think it helped the last time around," James said. "I'm hoping that the political atmosphere here is welcoming, and there won't be any issues like SB 1070 that we will have to overcome next time around."

The Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitor's Bureau said landing a convention could pump $40 million into the local economy.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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