The Democratic National Committee on Monday announced three finalists to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016: New York City, Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio.

“We’re thrilled to move to the next step of the selection process to determine where Democrats will come together to nominate the 45th President of the United States,” said DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a statement.

Two of the remaining cities on the list — Columbus and Philadelphia — are in important swing states that could help decide the 2016 presidential contest, while New York City is in potential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's home state. Birmingham and Phoenix were also on the short list, but were eliminated during the most recent round of cuts.

Dates have yet to be set for the gathering, but the DNC announced Wednesday that it has narrowed that window to the weeks of July 18, July 25, or August 22. A July convention would be significantly earlier than in previous years — in 2012, the convention was held from Sept. 4 to 6 in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2008, the gathering took place in Denver, Colorado from Aug. 25 to Aug. 28.

The Republican National Committee is also looking to host an earlier convention in 2016. The committee has announced that its event will take place in Cleveland sometime in late June or mid-July. That is, in part, a strategic attempt to shorten the length of the GOP primary season in order to bolster the eventual nominee leading up to the general election.

If both the Democratic and Republican conventions are in July, we could see a general election campaign that begins (in earnest) earlier than in previous years.