The cities of Columbus, Ohio, and Phoenix were dropped Wednesday as contenders for the site of the 2016 Republican National Convention. 

The Republican National Committee narrowed the field of contenders from eight to six in its first round of cuts. The cities still in the running are Las Vegas, Dallas, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, and Kansas City, Mo.


“In any other year, Columbus and Phoenix could have topped the list, but with so many strong cities competing, the committee had to make the difficult decision to narrow the field," said Enid Mickelsen, who is leading the site selection committee. "Phoenix and Columbus are great American cities, and I hope they’ll pursue a future bid for an RNC convention."

The RNC had picked eight finalists last month for the convention. Mickelsen said the six cities that advanced showed they have what it takes.

"The eyes of the world will be on the RNC and our host city in the summer of 2016,” Mickelsen said. 

The RNC will conduct technical site visits in the next step of the process, in which the six cities' venues, financing, media space and hotel accommodations will be rated. 

In May, the committee will narrow the field further to decide which cities will get visits by the full selection committee. The field could be cut once more after that by the selection committee before the full RNC governing body picks a site in late summer or early fall. 

Republicans held their convention in Tampa, Fla., during the 2012 presidential election, and a hurricane delayed the opening day of the event. The 2016 event is scheduled for June.