Biden campaign tries to flip North Carolina ahead of tight November contest

Doanld Trump won the Tar Heel state by 1.34 percent – fewer than 75,000 votes – in 2020

Gustaf Kilander
Washington DC
Tuesday 18 June 2024 18:34
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The Biden campaign is now pushing to win North Carolina, a state in which Republicans have won 10 of the last 11 presidential elections.

Then-senator Barack Obama won the state in 2008. Before that, the last Democratic presidential candidate to win the Tar Heel state was Jimmy Carter in 1976. But with less than five months to go, Biden is making a play for its 16 electoral votes, which could be decisive in what appears to be a tight 2024 contest.

As of June 18, former President Donald Trump, who won North Carolina twice, is 0.6 percentage points ahead of Biden in FiveThirtyEight’s average of national polls, with 40.8 percent to Biden’s 40.2 percent.

Trump won North Carolina by 1.34 percent – fewer than 75,000 votes – in 2020. While the state has mostly voted for Republicans on the presidential level, the party has only managed to win one gubernatorial election since 1988.

The Biden campaign now appears to believe the state is winnable for Democrats, including for Biden atop the ticket.

President Joe Biden speaks at the Chavis community center with Vice President Kamala Harris and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on March 26, 2024 in Raleigh. The Biden campaign is now making a push to try and flip the state.
President Joe Biden speaks at the Chavis community center with Vice President Kamala Harris and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on March 26, 2024 in Raleigh. The Biden campaign is now making a push to try and flip the state. (Getty Images)

The campaign is working to put together a rally in the capital of Raleigh following the first presidential debate on June 27, according to McClatchy News.

A Brookings Institution analysis found in May those who have recently moved to North Carolina have come mostly from Democratic states and that the number of residents in the state who have at least a bachelor’s degree is on the rise. The college-educated demographic has grown increasingly Democratic following Trump’s entrance on the national political stage.

According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, the Biden campaign has launched micro-targeted ads in North Carolina, focusing on the economy, abortion rights and Trump’s threat to democracy.

North Carolina is the sixth most targeted state, researcher Andrew Arenge found. Ahead are other swing states Biden needs to win in November – Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia.

Biden visited North Carolina in May to boast of his bipartisan infrastructure package, which he argued majorly benefited the state, adding that unemployment has taken a dive during his presidency.

“My predecessor promised infrastructure week every week for four years. He didn’t build a damn thing,” Biden said, bashing Trump.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May (Getty Images)

The Biden campaign was set to have about 40 members of staff in the state across 11 county offices by the end of last month, according to The Washington Post. During the 2020 campaign, senior members of staff started being hired in June.

Biden is facing an uphill climb in the state, with Trump leading in the polls. However, there’s no smooth sailing for Trump, who was convicted late last month of 34 felony counts for falsifying business records in an attempt to corruptly influence an election by hiding a hush money payment to adult actor Stormy Daniels from the electorate. The conviction has made independents less likely to back Trump, polling has shown.

A Quinnipiac poll found in April that half of those who voted for former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Republican primary in North Carolina could back Biden over Trump in November. Haley got almost 260,000 votes, even of small part of which could swing the state.

The Republican gubernatorial candidate in North Carolina, Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, may also drag Trump down. He has backed a ban on abortion and made derogatory statements about gay people.

Boston University politics professor Thomas Whalen told Newsweek, “Looks like the Biden camp’s internal polling is saying the Tar Heel State is in play which makes sense given its growing Democrat-friendly tech sector and large minority population.”

He added: “Even if he doesn’t win the state, it makes Trump commit limited financial resources he might otherwise use in close battleground states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, which Biden must absolutely run. Think of it as a strategy of political attrition.”

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