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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Biden Campaign Plays N.C. Wild Card

Some excerpts from “Biden Is Pouring Millions Into a State Democrats Haven’t Won Since 2008” by Tarini Parti at The Wall Street Journal:

President Biden’s re-election campaign is making a larger investment in North Carolina than recent Democratic presidential efforts, laying the groundwork for an alternative path to retaining the White House and potentially forcing Donald Trump to play defense in a Republican-dominated state.

The Biden campaign has 16 offices and hired more than 60 staff members, a campaign official and county officials said, marking a larger footprint—at an earlier point in the race—than Biden’s 2020 effort or Hillary Clinton’s in 2016. Biden and his allies have spent $5.2 million in the state through June 19 on broadcast and cable advertising, as well as radio and online, data from AdImpact shows. Trump’s campaign has spent nothing on advertising in the state so far for the general election, a sign his campaign sees the state as safely Republican.

Biden’s big bet on North Carolina could pay dividends this fall if he loses any of the three “Blue Wall” states—Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin—where Democrats have invested most heavily. Those states were reliably blue presidential states from 1992 until Trump, the former president, captured them in 2016. Biden won them back in 2020, but some polls there show Trump with a slight edge.

Biden is expected to visit North Carolina after the first presidential debate next week, which would be his fourth trip to the state this year. Vice President Kamala Harris has visited five times.

“This is a bigger, bolder effort,” Geoff Garin, a Biden pollster, said of North Carolina. “And there’s nothing like it on the Trump side.”

Garin said one of the issues the campaign would focus on is abortion rights in North Carolina. Republicans in the legislature there banned nearly all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, with limited exceptions for rape, incest and serious fetal anomalies.

An official with the NC GOP said the campaign’s investments in the state had been unconventionally minimal so far. Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, said it was expanding its operations with the launch of a new canvassing program through volunteers and had hired a dozen paid staffers.

Anna Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said: “In 2016 and 2020, Democrats lit money on fire in North Carolina only to lose to President Trump.”

However, “A Wall Street Journal poll conducted in March showed Trump leading Biden in six of seven battlegrounds including North Carolina, and the two men tied in Wisconsin. Trump’s lead of 6 percentage points in North Carolina was his widest margin in the battleground states. More recent presidential polls in the state have continued to find Trump with a solid lead in North Carolina—and one that is generally bigger than other swing states….Part of Biden’s challenge is that North Carolina is more rural than other presidential battlegrounds, and Republicans have built a formidable advantage in those communities.”

Nonetheless, “Democrats—hopeful Biden can be the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since Barack Obama in 2008—take solace in how close Biden came to winning in 2020. He lost the state by 74,000 votes in 2020—the closest since Obama’s victory there.”

Tarini explains that “population growth in North Carolina has made it politically unpredictable.” Also “Nearly 100,000 new residents have moved to the state annually since 2020—in large part from liberal states such as New York and California—to Democratic-leaning parts of the state, according to a state analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.”

Tarini notes that Black turnout presidential elections in 2020 was down from Obama’s 2008 victory by a margin of 5 percent. Black citizens are today about 22 percent of NC’s population, but about a fourth of them are too young to vote. That ads up to a substantially smaller percentage than in Georgia’s, where about a third of voters were African Americans in 2020.  Yet it’s not all that hard to envision an energetic GOTV campaign in African American communities making a pivotal difference in favor of Biden.

Tarini shares a couple of quotes that bode well for Democrats: “If those folks decide to show up at their political strength, we could see the tipping of North Carolina,” said Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics and history at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C….“We are in the state that was the closest state that Donald Trump won [in 2020], and we’ve got this gold mine in Mecklenburg,” said Drew Kromer, chairman of the Mecklenburg Democratic Party.” In addition,

Democrats also believe down-ballot races in the state could give Biden some momentum, especially the governor’s race in which Democrat Josh Stein has been leading in polls against Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. However, in 2016 and 2020, when Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper defeated his GOP opponents, Trump still carried the state.

Robinson is known for many controversial comments, including denying the Holocaust. Trump endorsed Robinson in the GOP primary over more establishment Republican candidates who raised concerns about Robinson’s ability to win in a general election.

“I think that Biden and Stein are going to lift each other up in this race in different ways and with different groups of voters,” said Garin, the Biden pollster.

All in all, it appears that NC may indeed be in play in November – if NC Democrats outwork the opposition.

One comment on “Biden Campaign Plays N.C. Wild Card

  1. Martin Lawford on

    “Robinson is known for many controversial comments, including denying the Holocaust.” I looked up Robinson’s actual quote. He did not “deny the Holocaust.” Parti is lying about that, as did The Guardian and The New Republic. I can understand why journos lie. They don’t want to report the news, they want to wield influence. What I can’t understand is why they tell lies which are so easily exposed and then wonder where their credibility went.


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