Democrats Bet on South, Pick Charlotte for 2012 'People's Convention' will be in North Carolina By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Feb 1, 2011 12:57 PM CST 18 comments Comments In this 2008 file photo, then-candidate Barack Obama campaigns in Toledo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) (Newser) – Democrats have picked Charlotte, NC, as the site of the 2012 convention, which the AP sees as a signal that the Obama campaign intends to fight hard to retain the gains it made in traditional GOP territory in 2008. Obama became the first Democrat to take the state since 1976, thanks in part to its strength in two key demographics: blacks and educated whites, notes MSNBC. It also points out a possible negative: the city's close ties to TARP recipient Bank of America. Early reaction to the choice of Charlotte, which beat out St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Cleveland: Howard Fineman, Huffington Post: "By choosing Charlotte over St. Louis," Democrats "are making a bet that the New South is more amenable to their 'win the future' reelection message than the Old Midwest." Politico: Democrats suffered big losses in the South in last year's elections, but "party strategists believe Virginia, Florida and North Carolina, all of which Obama won previously, are not out of reach in a high-turnout presidential election."