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Democrats opt for earlier convention

The Democratic National Committee announced their presidential nominating convention will take place the week of July 25, 2016.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks on stage during day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on Sept. 5, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks on stage during day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on Sept. 5, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C.

The Democratic National Committee announced Friday that the party's 2016 presidential nominating convention will be held the week of July 25, 2016, though the location has not yet been announced.  

“This is the next step to finalize where and when we will nominate the 45th President of the United States, highlight the Democratic Party’s agenda of fighting for expanded opportunity and contrast it with the Republican Party’s commitment to the fortunate few,” said DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “We are still in discussions with three excellent cities and are looking forward to a diverse and inclusive convention that displays our party’s values.”

RELATED: RNC makes big convention announcement

The GOP plans to host its convention from July 18 to 21 in Cleveland, Ohio. Democrats had been debating whether to hold their convention immediately after Republican event, or wait until August after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

But ultimately Democrats felt it would be better to respond immediately to the Republican convention, rather than let several weeks pass. Presidential candidates typically get a small bump in their polling numbers from the multi-party showcase, so Democrats hope to blunt any Republican bonus and leave their own candidate riding high while heading into the fall. An earlier convention also allows presidential candidates to tap into campaign money reserved for the general election earlier. 

The party have yet to choose, however, which city will host the convention. They are still considering three cities — New York, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio. Democrats say all three cities have a good shot and are still actively negotiating final contracts with the DNC ahead of a final decision, which likely to come in February before the DNC’s Winter Meeting.

Wasserman Schultz is making visits to each of the three finalists cities next week to review logistics. She’ll visit Columbus on Monday, Philadelphia on Wednesday, and New York on Friday. The visits are quick and closed to the press.

All three cities have strong arguments in their favor. New York City, which is proposing the first ever convention in Brooklyn, notes that the location could help energize crucial millennial voters. And the commerce capital would have no problem raising as much money as needed. But transportation and security could be more difficult than in other cities.

Philadelphia offers a swing-state location with historic resonance, thanks to its prominent role in the founding of the American Republic. Money had been a concern, but organizers say they've secured the necessary funds, including putting millions in an escrow account for the bid.

Columbus, meanwhile, is the largest city in arguably the most important swing state in the country, and Republicans' decision to locate their convention in Ohio has partisans of the city saying Democrats need to respond in kind. The city is less well known to coastal Democrats, but has a compact, walkable downtown that would make getting around the fortified convention area a little bit easier.

Presumed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has personal ties to both New York, where she served as senator and currently has a home, and Pennsylvania, where she vacationed as a child and scored a key win in the 2008 Democratic primary.

But Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and DNC chairman, who is leading Philadelphia's bid, said he didn't think Clinton would be involved. "I think Hillary would frankly be comfortable with any of the choices," he told msnbc. "I don't think she's going to play a significant role in the selection process."

Some Democrats have raised concerns about New York's bid following tensions between police and Mayor Bill de Blasio. "It's something that's probably given the DNC pause, but I don't think it will be determinative. It's something the DNC would weigh," Rendell said.