Beating out three other destinations, Minneapolis-St. Paul landed the 2008 Republican National Convention, the Republican National Committee announced last week.

The destination was selected over finalist cities Tampa-St. Petersburg, New York City, and Cleveland following visits by the nine-member site selection committee to all four cities in August. The decision was based on several factors, according to the RNC, including: the number and proximity of hotels, capacity of the arena, transportation, security, media work space, convention office space, and ability to finance the operation. “Minneapolis-St. Paul has outstanding assets including state-of-the-art facilities, exciting and vibrant downtowns, and a clear enthusiasm from the community to host our convention," stated RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman in a release. The decision will be finalized in January by a vote of the full RNC at its winter meeting.

The convention, which will be held Sept. 1-4, 2008, will take place in St. Paul at the Xcel Energy Center arena. It is expected to attract 45,000 delegates to the Twin Cities and will rank as among the largest events the area has ever hosted, stated Greg Ortale, president and chief executive officer at Meet Minneapolis, the city’s convention and visitors bureau.