CLEVELAND -- FIrst there were eight. Now there are six. And Cleveland is one of the cities still standing in the derby to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Mayor Frank Jackson got the early-afternoon phone call from the Site Selection Committee chairwoman.

"She said, 'We have good news for you.' ... It was pretty brief. She said we made it to the next round," Jackson said.

Columbus and Phoenix were the two cities eliminated.

So Cleveland's vying with Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas.

The big prize would be the biggest convention ever in the now-revitalized Cleveland.

Republicans have added one more step to the process.

Today's announcement means surviving cities will soon gets visits from technical advance teams, making sure that what Cleveland said in its bid conforms to reality.

Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman Rob Frost and Jackson said that trip would be to "validate" what was explained by the team in Washington, verifying the lengths of trips from hotels in Westlake and Beachwood to the Q.

They committee also will delve into more details about financing, venues and media work space.

Assuming Cleveland makes the next cut and gets a full-fledged Site Selection Committee visit, Frost believes holdover committee members who came here in 2006 when Cleveland was a semifinalist will be impressed by the dramatic improvements downtown.

Positively Cleveland's David Gilbert said, "We know the RNC is looking for a host city that can provide the convention, hotel and transportation services that will translate into a good visitor experience for every delegate, and we are ready to show the committee what a great choice Cleveland will be for their 2016 convention."

County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who first strongly championed Cleveland's convention push said, "Cleveland is in a strong position to compete with any other city for one of the 2016 conventions. I applaud Mayor Jackson and the entire Cleveland 2016 host committee for their tremendous efforts, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to bring a national political convention here."

Gov. John Kasich, in town to make the keynote address to the Greater Cleveland Partnership, said he would help both Cincinnati and Cleveland pursue the event.

The final site selection will be in announced in late summer or early fall.

Asked what Clevelanders could do now to enhance Cleveland's chances, Jackson said, "Just being Cleveland helps. ... We're going to be hospitable. We're going to be generous. We're going do do things that welcome people ... just doing that."

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