Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Biden aims to make North Carolina a top battleground — but Trump isn’t worried yet

By 37ci3 Mar26,2024

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – Wherever he is, President Joe Biden and his campaign are playing defense on the 2024 election map.

That is, except for one state: North Carolina.

Favorable demographics in the Tar Heel State, where Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will visit on Tuesday, the portrayal of several major Republican candidates as extreme and a rapidly changing electorate that narrowly supports former President Donald Trump in 2020 have Democrats feeling optimistic. about their chances of turning a decisive battlefield.

But with Biden’s popularity plummeting since his last election, Republicans here are still unconcerned. The poll shows Trump leading by a few points to nearly double digits, with larger leads on key issues.

“North Carolina is going to be the Arizona of this election or the Florida of past elections,” former GOP Gov. Pat McCrory said of his state’s role as a potential 2024 tipping point.

Republicans have had a long run at the presidential level in North Carolina over the past 40 years, losing only once in 2008 when Barack Obama carried the state. But Biden’s loss there in 2020 was the closest Democrats have come with Trump since then. He wins by just over 1 percent. Meanwhile, the state’s rapid growth has seen its biggest Democratic-leaning counties get bigger and bluer.

That has prompted Democrats to be more active this time around in North Carolina, especially since it’s the only front-line swing state Biden hasn’t carried in 2020. Already, his campaign has served in top positions and put the state in a $25 million battleground state. buy state announcement Tuesday’s visit will mark Biden’s second visit to the state this year; He did not visit North Carolina during the 2020 general election until September.

“Anybody you talk to from 2020 will tell you it’s not early for the Biden campaign,” said Anderson Clayton, chairman of the state Democratic Party. “What we’re really trying to do is go ahead and put the boots down and build energy here.”

Given his weakness in other states he carried four years ago, winning North Carolina and its 16 electoral votes could be crucial for Biden. D.N.C., who won one of the most hotly contested House races last cycle but is not seeking re-election this fall after redistricting. Rep. Wiley Nickel pointed out North Carolina to Biden on Air Force One last year. .

“Nationwide math just isn’t there without North Carolina,” he said. “You had the specter of John McCain and John Lewis pushing Biden to win Georgia and Arizona, and there’s not much going on in those states this time, so you’ve got to look at one more, not another. say it’s really getting tough… North Carolina is by all accounts the best opportunity out there.

Biden and Harris pitched their visit — technically a White House and not a campaign event — as a boost to in-state jobs, investment in local infrastructure and legislation. signed Last year, Governor Roy Cooper expanded Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. But leaders across the state see it as the opening of a brutal and expensive campaign season.

“In 2020, we probably weren’t that high on the target list,” said Cooper, who appeared with Biden and Harris on Tuesday, adding that unlike the 2020 campaign, which was caught in the middle of the Covid pandemic, Biden and the Democrats went door-to-door and in person. will enter into a more fundamental relationship of voters. “You’ll see an organization we haven’t seen before.”

Polls so far show Trump ahead. Marist College questionnaire acceptance after In this month’s Super Tuesday primaries, Biden has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points behind the former president by 3 points — the same poll that has Democratic state Attorney General Josh Stein ahead of Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson by 2 points. battle for governorship.

The same poll found Trump with 12 and 9 points on immigration and the economy, including 22 and 17 points, respectively, among independents. Biden has a 5-point lead with voters on abortion and a 1-point lead on preserving democracy, which worries North Carolina voters the most.

Other preliminary inquiries incl Fox News and Bloomberg/Morning ConsultIt showed Trump leading 5 to 9.

Combine those results with the fact that Trump already has back-to-back wins, and his team feels good about its chances of a three-in-a-row. Trump also promoted several veterans of the North Carolina race: general counsel Chris LaCivita previously worked on McCrory’s campaign, and new Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Whatley previously led the North Carolina state party. New RNC co-chair Lara Trump also hails from the state.

“Democrats burned money in North Carolina in 2016 and 2020, only to lose to President Trump,” RNC spokeswoman Anna Kelly said in a statement. “With President Trump’s record of success in the state and two North Carolinians at the helm of the RNC, 2024 will be no different — Tar Heel State families have felt the strain of Biden’s failures and are still willing to deliver for President Trump.”

“The Greatest Responsibility”

Both Democrats and Republicans in North Carolina admit there are some real wild cards this time around. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Although Democrats lost the Senate race here after he overturned Wade, this year the state’s GOP majority overrode Cooper’s veto in the state Legislature and will mark the first elections for president and governor since last year’s 12-week abortion ban went into effect. .

In addition, there is Robinson, the GOP gubernatorial candidate he said he wants to limit abortion to six weeks. (His campaign says supports exceptions including rape, incest, and the life of the mother.)

Robinson himself will be the focal point of the campaign. There has also been Robinson, who used to be a prolific poster on his personal Facebook page center of attention years of comments including linking homosexuality with pedophiliahe calls homosexuality and transgenderismimpurity,” and the Black Panther franchise’s “created and filmed by an agnostic Jew by [a] satanic marxist before using jewish poetry for black people. This is in addition to others comments and posts critics condemned as sexist, Islamophobic and antisemitic.

In October, Robinson insisted he was not anti-Semitic and distanced himself from his old social media posts, describing them as “poorly worded”. notes added for the state Legislature: “There is no anti-Semitism standing before you here.” Facing backlash for his anti-LGBTQ speech in 2021, Robinson said, “fight for” rights of the LGBTQ community.

Democrats hope they can bring Trump down in the state by associating him closely with Robinson, the ex-president’s ex-president. he called “Martin Luther King on steroids,” who endorsed him at a North Carolina rally this month.

One Trump ally predicted that the history of Robinson’s remarks could silence some evangelicals who are staunch supporters of Israel, and that he would face negative spending similar to McCrory’s 2016 tenure.

“The open question is whether and how Trump will deal with Robinson’s statements [Democrats] can connect the two,” he said. “So if I’m Biden, I’m going to try to do that.”

“I think it’s a climb for Biden right now on Trump. I would bet on Trump,” this person added. “But it’s entirely up to Trump how he handles Robinson.”

LT McCrimmon, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, said in a statement that the North Carolina Republican “continues to alienate the voters who will decide this election with their extreme rhetoric and regressive policies” and targeted Trump for “hand-doubling down on his toxic agenda.” -selecting an extreme slate of candidates” and calling the state “ground zero for an extreme and losing MAGA agenda”.

Democrats also targeted other down-ballot, statewide candidates, including GOP attorney general nominee and current House Freedom Caucus member Dan Bishop and conservative activist and GOP candidate for state superintendent Michelle Morrow. who previously expressed support for violence Against Democratic leaders.

But none of them caught Robinson’s attention.

“The biggest liability in Donald Trump’s entire national race for president is Mark Robinson on the gubernatorial ticket than any legal liability he’s facing right now,” said Paul Shumaker, a longtime Republican state operative. “And that’s because the Democrats are going to tie Trump and Robinson together and tie them together.”

Robinson’s campaign communications director, Mike Lonergan, said in a statement that Robinson is “very courageous and outspoken about his Christian faith” and is “not a career politician who has been groomed for decades for high office, he is a former factory worker.”

“As Lt. Governor Robinson often says, we don’t live in a theocracy, we live in a constitutional republic,” he said. “If and when he becomes governor, he will take the oath and duties of his office with the utmost respect, working to make North Carolina better for people of all backgrounds and walks of life; by growing our economy, reforming our schools, and creating a culture of life that is more supportive of mothers and families.”

Jonathan Felts, a longtime North Carolina operative who heads a pro-Robinson super PAC, said Robinson’s opponents overestimated the candidate’s unpopularity while underestimating his appeal.

“They think it’s just a blue-collar, working-class local phenomenon,” Felts said of Robinson’s meteoric rise through North Carolina GOP circles. “And it’s not like that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a country club Republican, a major commercial developer, one of the largest car dealers in the country…they’re all in Mark Robinson.”

And with Robinson making headlines in North Carolina for years, voters simply aren’t familiar with him.

“They’ve all heard about the controversy,” he said, “and they’re still stuck with it.”

Whichever way the gubernatorial race goes, it will be historic. If Robinson wins, he will become North Carolina’s first black governor. His rival, Stein, would become his first Jewish chief executive. Another interesting wrinkle to the race is that North Carolina has long sent Republicans to the White House or Senate while voting for Democrats, particularly for governor. And early polling suggests a repeat of 2016 and 2020, when Trump and Cooper won the same popular vote.

Earn these crossover voters could be critical for both Trump and Biden, while another group of voters — those who voted for former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the Republican presidential primary this month — could also be key for both coalitions.

Still, candidates are not putting much distance between themselves and the top of the ticket. Robinson has already campaigned with Trump, and Stein is set to attend Biden’s event on Tuesday.

“I think he’s someone who can provide a better future for the people of North Carolina in this country,” Stein said of Biden. “But voters will choose us on our merits.”

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By 37ci3

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