Raleigh, N.C. — Several recent polls show a majority of Americans don't trust Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Don't count Deborah Ross among that majority.
"Hillary will be an excellent president," Ross, North Carolina's Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, said in a recent interview with WRAL News. "I trust her to do that job."
But is Clinton honest and trustworthy?
"She is trustworthy as our commander-in-chief," Ross said.
When pressed further, she flatly replied, "She is trustworthy."
Like Clinton and Republican rival Donald Trump, Ross is engaged in a tight battle with two-term Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll gave Ross a 2-point lead. Although the edge is within the poll's margin of error, meaning Ross and Burr are technically tied, it was the first time any poll had her in the lead.
"It felt great. Now we have to hold onto it and expand it," she said about the poll results. "I don't take anything for granted."
Unlike some GOP leaders, Burr has endorsed Trump, which Ross said might help her in November.
"I think Richard Burr's embrace of Donald Trump is hurting Richard Burr," she said.
Burr campaign spokesman Jesse Hunt said Ross is merely trying to deflect attention to her record.
"Deborah Ross' previous career with the ACLU shows that she's beholden to the most far-left part of her party, and her record is too radical for mainstream voters," Hunt said in an email. "This race will come down to who North Carolinians trust most to represent their views in the Senate, despite Ross' desperate attempts to make it about anything else."
The GOP has hammered Ross in ads and news releases for her work with the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. She left the organization as state president in 2002 and spent the next decade in the state House.
Ross called the ACLU attacks "a smokescreen" and said it's Burr who is trying to diverting attention from his record, one that she said includes attempts to privatize Medicare and handing out tax breaks to special interests.
"North Carolina is sick and tired of what's been going on in Raleigh and in Washington," she said. "People want their state back, and they want better representation."
Hunt said Burr's "record of delivering real results for North Carolina stands on its own, and it's one that resonates with voters."
Ross has been running an extensive grassroots campaign in recent months, although she said she plans to take to the airwaves soon with her first batch of television ads. She said she is gratified by the reception she's received in gatherings across the state, especially in traditionally Republican areas.
"People want a change," she said. "They're learning about the campaign because I show up, and we're just going to keep the momentum going."