Charlotte to Host DNC

Herbert L. White

The Charlotte Post

Feb 1, 2011

City tops Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis


Charlotte, which Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama carried in 2008, has earned the party's 2012 national convention. Obama won the primary and general election in North Carolina – the first Democrat to do so since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Charlotte will host the nation’s Democrats – and President Obama’s presumptive re-election campaign – in 2012.

The Democratic National Committee announced today that Charlotte beat out Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Mo.; and Minneapolis, Minn.

“Charlotte is a city marked by its southern charm, warm hospitality, and an up by the bootstraps’ mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South,” First Lady Michelle Obama wrote in an email to supporters Tuesday. “Vibrant, diverse, and full of opportunity, the Queen City is home to innovative, hardworking folks with big hearts and open minds. And of course, great barbecue.”

“We’re honored that the Democratic National Committee chose Charlotte to host its 2012 convention,” Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “Thanks to the hard work and support of so many throughout our community, we have an unmatched opportunity to show the world what a beautiful, energetic, innovative and diverse city we are building in Charlotte. As we tell the story of Charlotte, and what a great place our city, state and region are to live and do business, we also will tell the story of America to our fellow citizens and our neighbors around the world.”

North Carolina was critical to Obama’s election in 2008. He clinched the party’s nomination by beating Hillary Clinton in May, then topped Republican challenger John McCain in November – making him the first Democrat to win the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976. North Carolina Democrats benefitted from Obama’s strength, especially Gov. Bev Perdue, whose victory over Charlotte Republican Pat McCrory was attributed to record turnout among young adult and black voters. Another beneficiary, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, called the pick “a great day for the people of

North Carolina. It’s a testament to the great things going on in North Carolina. We’ll have a lot of flights coming in from all over and people will take advantage of what the state has to offer. It’ll show the impact of North Carolina on the rest of the nation and that it’s the best state in the country.”

“This process offered some great choices,” DNC Chairman Tim Kaine wrote in an email. “There were many cities eager for the opportunity to host our convention, and we are thankful for their participation throughout the year. The bid process was thorough. Our Technical Advisory Group conducted extensive site visits, and our allies and political leaders offered lots of important input.

“After reviewing feedback from all these individuals, I am confident that Charlotte is an ideal location.”

Duke Energy Corp. CEO Jim Rogers, who co-chairs the Charlotte In 2012 organizing committee with Foxx, said: “Charlotte’s selection clearly elevates our city to a new level in national and world stature. Only a few singular events in the U.S. rival the domestic and worldwide media exposure of a major political convention: a presidential inauguration, a royal wedding, the Super Bowl and the Olympics. The economic and reputational significance of being chosen for this honor cannot be overstated.”

The convention will provide another boost to Charlotte’s tourism industry, which has scored major singular events like the National Rifle Association and the annual CIAA basketball tournament to bolster the bottom line. The city apparently benefited from the Obama family’s fondness for North Carolina’s diversity.

“Barack and I spent a lot of time in North Carolina during the campaign – from the Atlantic Coast to the Research Triangle to the Smoky Mountains and everywhere in between,” Michelle Obama wrote. “Barack enjoyed Asheville so much when he spent several days preparing for the second presidential debate that our family vacationed there in 2009.”

The convention, which will take place the week of Sept. 3, 2012, will attract an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 delegates, international media and national political leaders.

“Today’s decision is fantastic news for North Carolina regardless of your political party,” said Perdue, honorary chair of Charlotte In 2012. “A national political convention is a keystone event that will boost North Carolina’s economy, while showcasing Charlotte and our state to the nation and the world. What they will see when they get here is what hundreds of businesses already know – Charlotte’s smart investments in infrastructure, cultural attractions and amenities have produced a climate perfect for work and play.”

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Charlotte in 2012
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