Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a slim opportunity to recreate former President Barack Obama’s success in North Carolina on Tuesday.
President Trump has an average 0.6 percentage-point lead in North Carolina, according to RealClearPolitics. But FiveThirtyEight hands Biden 65% odds of winning the state’s 15 electoral votes, a race considered a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.
[PREDICT TUESDAY’S WINNER WITH THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER’S INTERACTIVE ELECTORAL MAP]
Other than Obama’s first 2008 White House bid, North Carolina has been a Republican stronghold since former Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1976. And Trump beat 2016 Democratic standard-bearer Hillary Clinton there by almost 4 points.
Yet the Biden campaign’s travel to North Carolina suggests his strategists believe the state’s in play this cycle.
The two-term vice president and 36-year Delaware senator, who’s spent limited time on the trail, has visited North Carolina twice since Sept. 1. And his wife, former second lady Jill Biden, is making a trip to Wake County on Election Day.
A densely populated Democratic enclave that includes North Carolina’s capitol Raleigh, Wake County offers Democrats one of the state’s deepest pools of voters along with Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County.
Jill Biden’s itinerary represents a late push given 4.5 million registered voters in North Carolina have already cast their ballots via the mail or early in-person, according to Old North State Politics. That’s about 95% of all ballots compared to four years ago and 60% of the total 7.3 million registered electorate.
Democrats were 5 points ahead in the early vote count as of Saturday, with 927,000 Democrats, 790,000 Republicans, and potentially 1 million-plus unaffiliated voters who could still cast a ballot, Old North State Politics found.
Obama’s North Carolina coalition of the state’s dynamic black and Hispanic community, as well as well-off and well-educated Northeastern transplants, wouldn’t be easily replicated, John Steward, a North Carolina Republican convention delegate told the Washington Examiner.
“There’s a huge difference between President Obama and Vice President Biden,” he said, describing 2008 Republican nominee John McCain as a “weak candidate.”
He was doubtful California Sen. Kamala Harris, the country’s first minority woman picked as a major party’s vice presidential nominee, would boost Biden.
“Most people are voting for the top of the ticket, no matter who that vice president is,” he said. “But, of course, with Biden, the chances of him finishing a full term is pretty, I would say 50-50 at best, so maybe the people will look closer at his vice president’s choice.”
Steward advised Republicans to be patient on election night because early returns from North Carolina’s urban areas will likely favor Biden. Instead, he told them to watch for results from the state’s east.
“From our history, we’ve always, from the very start, liked outsiders,” he said, citing the state’s early declaration of independence from the British. “We like people that mix things up.”
For Mac McCorkle, a former North Carolina Democratic strategist and current director of Duke University’s Polis Center, Trump was under more pressure to perform in his state. McCorkle also called the White House contest a “50-50 proposition.”
“There’s a sense of momentum that’s building in favor of Democrats,” he said. “They’ve won back the governorship, they won the attorney general, they have control of the state Supreme Court.”
McCorkle added, though, “On the flip side, it’s probably a must-have for the Democrats to control the Senate.”
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic former state Sen. Cal Cunningham are in a too-close-to-call matchup, in addition to Republican incumbent Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine, Steve Daines of Montana, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, as well as Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia.
Democrats only need to gain three to four Senate seats for a majority.
Tillis and Cunningham would likely be helped by whoever prevails at the top of the ticket, even after Cunningham’s extramarital affair, McCorkle predicted.
Last month, Cunningham, a married father-of-two, admitted he exchanged sexually suggestive text messages with a married woman who wasn’t his wife.
“There are larger considerations going on,” McCorkle said. “You would almost think he was a sitting duck, but maybe the Republicans are the gang who can’t shoot straight. President Trump, bluntly put, may have lowered the bar on sexual conduct.”
Tags: News, 2020 Elections, Campaign 2020, North Carolina, North Carolina Senate, Biden, Joe Biden, Trump campaign, President Trump
Original Author: Naomi Lim
Original Location: Biden strives for Obama 2008 campaign repeat in North Carolina