WASHINGTON -- Recognizing that President Barack Obama faces serious challenges in the Midwest he carried not two years ago, the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday picked three heartland cities and just one in the Republican-friendly South to consider for its 2012 nominating convention.
The cities are Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Charlotte, N.C.
A presidential nominating convention brings millions of dollars and intense attention to its host city as well as political good will for the party itself. Obama won Ohio, Minnesota and North Carolina in his 2008 race against Republican John McCain, who won Missouri.
With Democrats competing for Senate seats in Ohio and Missouri, the announcement was likely to energize the Democratic base in those states ahead of the crucial midterm elections this year. Even so, putting states in play for possibly holding the convention was not a guarantee for wins there in 2012; McCain held his nominating convention in Minnesota, yet lost the state.
DNC Chairman Tim Kaine announced the finalists in a message to supporters and hinted that Democrats would not assume they would control the White House for two consecutive terms.
Democrats will nominate their 2012 presidential candidate the week of Sept. 3. The week before that, Republicans will nominate their candidate in Tampa, Fla., a city in a state that will be central to either party's bid for the White House.