COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio's three largest cities - Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati - are on the list of eight cities named as finalists in the competition to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

"You've got to like those odds," said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus named all three among the party's eight finalists in a Twitter post Thursday. The others are Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

It's the first time in modern memory that all three have bid to host the convention in the same year. Ohio hasn't hosted a major political party convention since the 1930s.

"It's putting Ohio in its proper place in this process which is right at the top," said Borges.

Party and city officials are counting on the state's pivotal role in electing presidents to boost the chances that the party will pick one of their cities for its biggest event. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying the state, and few Democrats have.

Hosting a convention doesn't ensure victory. In the 2012 election, Republicans lost Florida and Democrats lost North Carolina despite holding their conventions in those states.

"I was joking that I was secretly hoping that Democrats land their convention in Ohio given that track record," he said.

Gov. John Kasich has offered up $10 million from JobsOhio, the state's semi-private economic development agency, to help fund the effort, should an Ohio city be selected.

"Any of these cities that would get it, it would be a great showcase for the state. It would be great for any of the cities. It would be great for everybody," he said.

Both Kasich and Borges said they aren't rooting for one Ohio city over the other. 

"Any three of them would be such a big win for the Buckeye State," Kasich said.

Backers see the convention as a potential boon for tourism.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)