Democrats pick Charlotte, NC, for 2012 convention

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 1, 2011 12:18pm EST

Then Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama during a campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 21, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Keane

Then Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama during a campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 21, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Chris Keane

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats said on Tuesday they will hold their 2012 presidential nominating convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, a battleground state that President Barack Obama narrowly won in 2008.

The Democratic National Committee chose Charlotte over three other cities -- St. Louis, Cleveland, and Minneapolis -- to host the convention the week of September 3, 2012, party officials said.

Obama is expected to be formally nominated for a second White House term at the Democratic convention. The president plans to officially launch his re-election bid in the next few months.

"More than anything else, we want this to be a grassroots convention for the people," First Lady Michelle Obama said in an email message to the president's political supporters. "This will be a different convention for a different time."

Obama defeated Republican candidate John McCain by about 14,000 votes out of more than 4 million cast in 2008 in North Carolina, a Southern state Democrats had not captured since 1976. Hosting the convention in Charlotte will give him a head start on his effort to win the state again.

A large field of candidates is expected to contend for the Republican presidential nomination. Republicans will hold their convention in Tampa, Florida, in late August 2012.

The election is on November 6, 2012.

(Reporting by John Whitesides; editing by Jackie Frank)

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