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By Ben Popken

The race to become the next site of Amazon's second headquarters narrowed considerably Thursday as the internet giant released its short list of 20 possible contenders.

More than 230 cities had applied to become the future location of the internet giant's "HQ2," dangling tax incentives and other goodies, hoping to turn their hometowns into boom towns.

Direct jobs, job creation from support industries, increased tax receipts and prestige all on the line. Amazon had said it would invest $5 billion to create its new headquarters and would create 50,000 "high-paying jobs" within 10 to 15 years of its opening.

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Cities did their best to make a good impression on their potential future corporate citizen. Outside Denver, a billboard announced "Denver loves Amazon!"

Amazon said in its announcement Thursday that it will now work with the candidate locations to examine their proposals more closely and request additional information to "evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate our hiring plans as well as benefit our employees and the local community." Amazon said it would make its decision later in 2018.

The finalists in alphabetical order:

Atlanta

Austin

Boston

Chicago

Columbus

Dallas

Denver

Indianapolis

Los Angeles

Miami

Montgomery County, Maryland

Nashville

Newark, NJ

New York City

Northern Virginia

Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

Raleigh

Toronto

Washington DC