With a year to go before the 2012 Democratic National Convention, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in North Carolina this week to speak at a Charlotte kick-off event and meet with labor leaders.
Convention organizers held a rally Tuesday to highlight the countdown to the event at Time Warner Cable Arena, an uptown basketball venue that will host many of the 2012 festivities.
The convention is expected to attract to more than 35,000 delegates, media members and guests to North Carolina's largest city, where it's likely that Barack Obama will be named the party's presidential nominee for a second term.
A congresswoman from Florida, Wasserman Schultz said North Carolina is central to the Democrats' national electoral strategy and that she looks forward to spending more time in the Queen City.
"Charlotte is a jewel in the South and the country," she said in an interview with the Associated Press. "We have an opportunity to showcase it to the world and highlight the reasons that we chose Charlotte as the host for our convention."