ABC News' Michael Falcone reports:
The Democratic National Committee has selected Charlotte, N.C. as the site of it's 2012 national convention, the DNC announced on Tuesday.
The convention will be held at the city's Time Warner Cable Arena during the week of September 3, 2012.
The party picked Charlotte, nicknamed the Queen City, over St. Louis, Mo. Cleveland, Ohio and Minneapolis, Minn.
"All the contending cities were places that Barack and I have grown to know and love, so it was a hard choice," First Lady Michelle Obama wrote in an e-mail message to Organizing For America supporters. "But we are thrilled to be bringing the convention to Charlotte."
North Carolina was an important state for Democrats in the last presidential election cycle — it's one that then-candidate Barack Obama won by only a razor-thin margin against Republican Sen. John McCain in 2008, 50 percent to 49 percent. Democrats are clearly hoping for a win there again in 2012.
However, unlike the other states that were in contention to hold the convention, North Carolina has no U.S. Senate race in 2012. The state's Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue will be up for re-election two years from now.
In her e-mail message the first lady notes the Obama family's personal and political connections to the state.
"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," she wrote. "Barack enjoyed Asheville so much when he spent several days preparing for the second Presidential debate that our family vacationed there in 2009."
"This selection should put to rest any notion that the Presidential map in 2012 is going to shrink," a senior Democratic official told ABC News. "President Obama will be very active in North Carolina and … 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."
Critics have pointed out that North Carolina is a right-to-work state and its hotel workers are not unionized.
The Republican convention will take place in Tampa, FL in 2012, one week prior to the DNC. In 2008, the Democrats held their convention in Denver, Colorado — a state Obama also carried in the last presidential eleciton.
"I want to congratulate the people of Charlotte, their mayor, Anthony Foxx, Senator Kay Hagan, Governor Bev Perdue, and every other leader who helped to put together this winning bid," DNC Chair Tim Kaine said in a separate message to supporters on Tuesday.
The North Carolina Republican Party, meanwhile, isn't exactly rolling out the red carpet for Democrats.
“We look forward to Charlotte being in the spotlight in 2012, but North Carolinians will not be fooled again by empty promises of 'Hope' and 'Change,'" North Carolina GOP Chair Robin Hayes said in a statement responding to Monday's news. "Just last November, North Carolinians rejected the failed policies of President Obama and Governor Perdue and elected Republicans to lead the North Carolina State House and State Senate for the first time in over 100 years. We welcome the Democrats to Charlotte, but they must answer for their misguided policies that have led to more debt, more spending and more government.”