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Phoenix Convention Center (City of Phoenix Photo)

PHOENIX -- Phoenix was named a finalist to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, it was announced Thursday.

The state capital of Arizona submitted its bid Tuesday. Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona led the committee.

The Valley was a finalist for the 2012 convention that eventually went to Tampa, Fla.

Reince Preibus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, tweeted out the news:

The announcement comes the day after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gays and others, based on religious beliefs.

The bill drew national attention and state and local business leaders were vociferous in their opposition. The NFL reportedly was considering pulling the 2015 Super Bowl from Arizona if the bill passed.

"The opportunity (to host) has now become very real," said Robert Graham, chairman of the state's Republican Party. "We're looking at U.S. Airways Center -- it has the capacity. So does Chase Field. The Phoenix Convention Center will also be used."

KTAR Newsroom,

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