The Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday that Charlotte is one of four finalists for its 2012 convention, putting the city closer than ever to landing a national political gathering.
"It's a huge deal," Mayor Anthony Foxx, a Democrat, said Wednesday night. "The 2012 Democratic National Convention carries a significant and positive economic impact and will also put our city, our region and our state on an international stage."
Charlotte will compete with Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis. The party is expected to choose a site by the end of the year.
A convention would be an economic boon. Denver officials estimated the 2008 Democratic convention brought the area a $266 million economic benefit.
"We have a great opportunity, and we're going to put everything we can to try to win this thing," said Tim Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
Skeptics say nobody should get their hopes up.
"I'd be astonished if Charlotte were picked," said Charlie Cook, editor of the Washington-based Cook Political Report. "While there are some political reasons to put it in North Carolina, Charlotte is not a city that has hosted many major national conventions of any kind, not just talking about political conventions ...
"The politics don't make that much sense. While Obama carried North Carolina in 2008, that was a very high water mark for Democrats, one unlikely to be replicated in 2012."
Cook's take on a Charlotte convention: "Not gonna happen."
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