From NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro
The Democratic National Committee today announced the selection of Charlotte, NC, as the site of the party's 2012 convention, a clear sign that Democrats will once again target the Tar Heel State in the upcoming presidential contest.
It will be the first presidential-nominating convention to ever take place in North Carolina.
Barack Obama narrowly won the state in 2008, 50%-49% (or 2,142,651 votes to John McCain's 2,128,474) -- the first time a Democrat carried the state in a presidential contest since 1976.
By selecting Charlotte -- which beat out St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN; and Cleveland, OH -- Obama and his political advisers will try to repeat their success in 2008, when they used the convention as an organizing tool to win the state in the general election. (In 2008, Denver hosted the Democratic convention, and Obama went on win Colorado, 54%-45%, the first time a Dem presidential nominee had carried it since 1992.)
It also should be no surprise that, demographically, the city is well represented with the voters who made up the coalition that propelled Obama to victory in 2008: 33% of its residents are black, 11% are Hispanic, nearly 40% have a bachelor's degree (the national average is 27.5%), and its median age is 33.2 years (the national average is 36.5). For the whole state, 21% of the residents are black, 7% are Hispanic, nearly 26% have a bachelor's degree, and its median age is 36.6.
But Charlotte also has potential drawbacks for Obama and the Democrats. For one thing, the city is closely associated with Bank of America, a recipient of the federal government's bank bailout. The bank's corporate headquarters are located in the city, and the Carolina Panthers' football stadium is named Bank of America Stadium.
Also, the local NAACP chapter has urged groups, including the Democratic Party, to boycott the city after it scheduled a make-up school day on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
And the city has faced some criticism from a prominent labor union because of its lack of union hotels.
The Democratic convention is scheduled for the week of Sept. 3, 2012. The Republican convention -- which will be held in Tampa, FL -- will occur the week before.
*** UPDATE *** A senior Democratic official emails First Read: "This selection should put to rest any notion that the presidential map in 2012 is going to shrink. President Obama will be very active in North Carolina and that, despite what some have speculated, we are going to go as big in 2012 as we did in 2008 -– and that means fighting hard for North Carolina, Virginia and all the states and more that helped elect President Obama in the first place."