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Credit: Chris Hunkeler 510-621-3391 , Courtesy of Chris Hunkeler/Creative Commons

For Penn students, the 2016 presidential elections just became much closer to home.

Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced this morning that Philadelphia will host the 2016 Democratic National Convention on July 25, 2016. Philadelphia beat out the other two finalists — Columbus, Ohio and Brooklyn, New York.

“The City of Philadelphia is excited and honored to be selected as the host city for the 2016 Democratic National Convention,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said in a statement released today. “We believe that it was our proven track record of hosting big events safely and efficiently with a dynamic team of top-tier professionals to organize and manage a conference of this magnitude, paired with our City’s tremendous amenities, its accessible location and historical significance, which made Philadelphia the ideal choice for the 2016 DNC.”

While Philadelphia hosted the Republican National Convention in 2000, it has not hosted a Democratic National Convention since 1948. As a result, local Democrats are thrilled.

“We are very excited that the Democratic Party has not only nationally recognized that this city is so active politically, but also that it is a good place for Democrats to gather in terms of possibly a very landmark year nominating the first woman nominee of any major party,” College sophomore and Penn Democrats Political Director Sam Iacobellis said. He also mentioned that Penn Dems hopes to have an active role in volunteering for the convention. “Having Philadelphia be chosen as a venue says a lot about not only our infrastructure as a major city, but our importance politically.”

The Republican National Committee announced in August that the Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, which is a crucial city in probably the most important swing state. However, Democrats are also quick to tout the strategic importance of Pennsylvania in the 2016 election.

“This is a really good spot for them strategically,” Iacobellis added. “You have a competitive senate race in 2016 and a new Democratic governor with a Republican legislature that you could start talking about bipartisanship and working together. And it’s a swing state, especially if one of the more moderate Republicans – whether that be Jeb Bush or Chris Christie happen to get the nomination — a state like this has a lot of value.”

In addition to the political upside it could bring to the 2016 Democratic candidate for President, it could also help Democratic candidates in local and state races as well.

“The Democratic Convention will bring a lot attention to the fact that we have a very strong blue state,” Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party Diane Bowman said. “I think that helps down-ballot big time for us to have that presence here. If people are coming to Pennsylvania for the Democratic convention, obviously that lends itself a lot more involvement with our Democratic statewide races.”

While Democrats from across the country will flock to Philadelphia in the summer of 2016, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Democratic candidates will have a huge advantage in Pennsylvania.

“In 2012 the Democrats held their convention in North Carolina and the state was won by Romney, and the Republicans held their convention in Tampa and the state was won by the President,” said Terry Madonna, director of Franklin and Marshall College’s Center for Politics and Public Affairs. “It is obviously going to help the economy and it’s going to create excitement and money and business in Southeast Pennsylvania and particularly in the city… but politically, there isn’t a lot of evidence in the past that it changes the dimensions of an election. That has often been exaggerated.”

“And remember, these conventions are being held in July,” Madonna added. “We’ll be months away from [election day]. And when we are into a full-fledged campaign, it won’t be about what happened at a convention, unless there is some big problem with it.”

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