Former Vice President Joe Biden is the latest Democratic presidential candidate to announce he will campaign in North Carolina, scheduling his first public event in the state.
Biden has led the Democratic field in several polls of North Carolina voters. And months before the state’s March 3 primary, some North Carolinians have already voted with their wallets. Biden and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg were the top fundraisers in the second quarter. Biden still led in the third quarter, this time followed by Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.
The two Democratic front runners, according to national polls, are Biden and Warren. Biden has been to Charlotte for a fundraiser and is coming to Durham on Oct. 27, while Warren has yet to visit.
The purple state is also a draw for President Donald Trump, who campaigned in Fayetteville in September on the eve of two special congressional elections. North Carolina voters have gone with Democrat Barack Obama and Republicans Mitt Romney and Trump in recent elections.
“The road to the White House runs through North Carolina,” Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, said in a statement Thursday. “North Carolina Democrats are excited by the energy and excitement our presidential contenders bring to the state and their commitment to building up our public schools and lowering health care costs.”
Here’s where Democratic candidates have been so far, and when they’ll be here next:
Biden hasn’t revealed the location in Durham for his “community event” from 4 to 6 p.m Oct. 27. Members of the public who want to attend can RSVP here: mobilize.us/joebiden/event/142380/. Doors open at 4 p.m., with the event expected to start at 4:30 p.m.
According to a release from the Biden campaign, he will “lay out his vision for America and listen to voters’ concerns and ideas around restoring the soul of the nation, rebuilding the middle class, and unifying the country.”
Biden came to Charlotte in August for a fundraiser at the home of former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.
The Massachusetts senator hasn’t come to North Carolina yet, but her campaign held events in multiple cities to rally volunteers and is setting up an office here.
Harris visited North Carolina, making multiple stops including two days in Durham speaking in front of several hundred African American voters.
The California senator was the keynote speaker at the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People’s annual banquet, an event planned for months. She said talking about where the country is on civil rights issues is not about identity politics, but about America’s identity.
“We’ve got a man in the White House who got elected on the slogan ‘Make America Great Again.’ ” she said. “Great for whom?”
The next day, before she left town for events in Greensboro and Charlotte, she spoke at St. Joseph AME Church in Durham, which is next to N.C. Central University, a historically black university. Harris also attended an HBCU — Howard University — and was in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Dozens of AKA members wore the sorority colors of pink and green during the church service.
Sanders, the Vermont senator and runner-up in 2016’s Democratic primary, spoke to a friendly crowd of UNC-Chapel Hill students at the Bell Tower amphitheater outside on a sunny evening.
“We have a corporate elite in this country that is not only incredibly greedy,” he said, “and has been at war against the working class of this country for the last 40-50 years, but they are incredibly corrupt.”
Some UNC students who came to the rally told The News & Observer that they liked Sanders’ positions on issues important to them — climate change, gun regulation and raising the minimum wage — but weren’t committed to him, as many students were in 2016. They also liked Democratic presidential candidates Warren, Andrew Yang and Buttigieg.
In May Sanders spoke to large crowds in Asheville and Charlotte. In September he also visited the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro.
The former Texas congressman made his first visit to Charlotte in April for a rally at Central Piedmont Community College, where he spoke to a mostly young audience. He returned in August for a rally at a brewery near UNC Charlotte.
A former housing secretary under President Barack Obama, Castro visited Durham in May to rally with workers calling to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. He met with Fight for $15 protesters at the downtown Durham McDonald’s and also talked about affordable housing.
Booker has family roots here. Booker, whose father graduated from N.C. Central, was once the university’s commencement speaker. In May he talked about gun regulation at Charlotte’s Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.
Ben Wieder of McClatchy DC contributed to this report.
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