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Philadelphia to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016

While Republicans announced months ago that their 2016 nominating convention will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, Democrats took longer to make a choice.

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Thursday announced Philadelphia will host the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

“In addition to their commitment to a seamless and safe convention, Philadelphia’s deep rooted place in American history provides a perfect setting for this special gathering. I cannot wait to join Democrats across the country to celebrate our shared values, lay out a Democratic vision for the future, and support our nominee,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter said the city is "excited and honored" to be selected. "We’re all delighted to make history again, here in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection,” Nutter said. 

While Republicans announced months ago that their 2016 nominating convention will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, Democrats took longer choosing between three finalist cities - New York City, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio. The convention will be held the week of July 25, 2016, immediately after the Republican event. 

Competition has been fierce between the cities, and Wasserman Schultz visited all three locations last month for a final inspection. Each cities offered their own benefits, but also drawbacks.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed hard for Brooklyn to host the convention, and rounded up a long list of wealthy benefactors ready to open their pockets for the convention. But most of New York City's hotels are in Manhattan, raising concern about housing and transporting the thousands of delegates and reporters who will descend on the site. And recent tensions with police raised concerns about security.

Columbus, meanwhile, offered a swing-state location in Middle America, along with a compact, walkable downtown. But it had never hosted a party's convention and there was some concern about its ability to handle the logistics. 

Philadelphia was the narrow odds-on choice all along. The city where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed mixes an all-American backdrop, with a gritty blue-collar urban ethos in the voter-rich purple state.

RELATED: Democrats opt for earlier convention

The city also has deep ties to Hillary Clinton, the presumed frontrunner for the Democratic nominee. Her father grew up in Scranton, and Clinton spent summers vacationing in Pennsylvania, and the state gave Clinton a big win in the 2008 Democratic primary when Barack Obama was beginning to run away with the race. Many of the state's top political leaders, like former Gov. Ed Rendell, are longtime allies of Clinton, and Philadelphia has been a reliable source of campaign contributions.

When she came to the city to campaign for now Gov. Tom Wolf, she received a hometown welcome. "She is a Pennsylvanian at heart,” Wolf said while introducing Clinton in Philadelphia. “Coursing through her veins is blood that is infused with Pennsylvania values … She’s one of us.”

And Clinton's son-in-law is from the city as well. "There’s a lot of Philadelphia and a lot of Pennsylvania in Charlotte,” Clinton said of her new granddaughter when she took the stage. “Her father has already held her while watching the Eagles play.”

The state is also one of the only ones where Democrats have a good story to tell from 2014. Wolf ousted incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett by nine points, while Democratic incumbents fell elsewhere. 

Clinton is expected to locate her campaign headquarters in either Brooklyn or Queens, New York, so the city will still get a major consolation prize.

Following the announcement, DeBlasio said New York City still "represents the future of America" and thanked everyone was involved in the effort. Leaders in Columbus likewise struck a conciliatory tone. “Through this process, our city has gained new respect and recognition as a major American city on the rise," said Brian Ross, president and CEO of Experience Columbus, which works to promote tourism in the city.

Progressives are also hailing the fact on the same day the DNC picked Philadelphia, its city council passed a measure guaranteeing paid sick leave for up to 200,000 workers. Mayor Nutter, who vetoed the bill twice in 2011 and 2013, is expected to sign it today. "Paid sick days is spreading faster than the flu. If national Democrats are smart, they'll make this part of their 2016 agenda," Pennsylvania Working Families Director Kati Sipp told msnbc.