Charlotte finally grabbed the brass ring today, beating out three rivals for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
"I am thrilled to make sure you are the first to hear some very exciting news," First Lady Michelle Obama said in an email to key Democrats. "Charlotte is a city marked by its Southern charm, warm hospitality, and an 'up by the bootstraps' mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South.
"Vibrant, diverse, and full of opportunity, the Queen City is home to innovative, hardworking folks with big hearts and open minds. And of course, great barbecue.
The DNC picked Charlotte over Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis.
Charlotte leaders hailed the selection.
"We're honored that the Democratic National Committee chose Charlotte," Mayor Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "We have an unmatched opportunity to show the world what a beautiful, energetic, innovative and diverse city we are building in Charlotte."
Gov. Bev Perdue called the decision "fantastic news for North Carolina regardless of your political party. A national political convention is a keystone event that will boost North Carolina's economy, while showcasing Charlotte and our state to the nation and the world."
The convention is expected to bring more than 35,000 delegates, media and other visitors to the city and generate more than $150 million in economic benefits. It also will bring international attention to a city that has long aspired to be "world-class."
Foxx had called the convention "a game-changer, bringing new jobs, new spending and new businesses to our city, region and state."
The convention will start on Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2012.
DNC Chairman Tim Kaine called it "a tough choice."
"This process offered some great choices," he said in an email to the DNC.
Republicans announced last May that their convention would be in Tampa the week before Democrats convene in Charlotte.
The convention will bring President Obama to a city and county that helped him become the first Democratic presidential candidate in 32 years to carry North Carolina and drive a wedge into an often solid-red South.
His 100,000-vote margin in Mecklenburg County helped him carry North Carolina by a scant 14,000 votes out of 4.3 million.
Foxx has said he expects the city would have to raise about $45 million to meet DNC requirements. Some of the money would go toward what he has described as "a fairly major upfit" of Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee reported raising $60 million to stage the convention - more than the $40 million it originally promised. The Denver Post reported that almost three-quarters came from labor unions and health care, telecommunications and energy companies.
Denver officials have estimated the 2008 Democratic convention brought the area a $266 million economic benefit.
This wasn't the first time Charlotte tried to lure a national political party convention.
In mid-1997 a group called Carolinas 2000 sought to interest both parties in choosing the city. Charlotte failed to make the cut with Democrats after it became one of 27 cities asked to submit bids. It did make the short list of nine cities in the running for the GOP convention, and even drew a visit from the Republicans' site selection committee before it lost out to Philadelphia.
The decision to come to Charlotte is an implicit signal that President Obama and Democrats plan to compete in a state and a region where they enjoyed some success in 2008. That's despite the "shellacking" the party took last fall.
Last year Foxx told the National Journal the convention would be "an opportunity to take the fight right into the heart of where folks have always thought the Republican Party had an advantage."
Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, who co-chaired the effort to bring the convention, said the selection "clearly elevates our city to a new level in national and world stature.
"Only a few singular events in the U.S. rival the domestic and worldwide media exposure of a major political convention: a presidential inauguration, a royal wedding, the Super Bowl and the Olympics. The economic and reputational significance of being chosen for this honor cannot be overstated."