North Carolina to be 'purple state' ahead of presidential election
Posted June 21
Updated June 22
Raleigh, N.C. — Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is scheduled to campaign in Raleigh on Wednesday, roughly a month ahead of the party's convention.
Clinton's stop is slated for 2:30 p.m. at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, located at 1025 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m.
In a news release, the campaign said Clinton will talk about the future of the country and the economy.
Clinton's visit will mark the end of a busy week for politicians in North Carolina. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump visited Raleigh last week.
This year, North Carolina is a coveted "purple state," which could go either way in the upcoming presidential election.
North Carolina will get serious attention and ad dollars once again, and unaffiliated voters will likely make the difference.
The trend began in 2008 when President Barack Obama won North Carolina by the closest margin, and in 2012, when he lost the state in the tightest state contest.
Republican political strategist Dee Stewart and Democratic consultant Brad Crone disagree on policy, but not on the political importance of the state.
“North Carolina is increasingly important, not necessarily because of the electoral vote, but because of the evenness of the electorate from a partisan standpoint,” Stewart said.
The state’s population growth drives the political evolution, making unaffiliated voters, now more than a quarter of the electorate, more powerful.
“In 2006 and 2008, unaffiliated voters supported Democrats; in 2010, 2012, 2014, they supported Republicans,” Crone said. “So, the importance of the unaffiliated vote is unprecedented.”
Most polls have shown Clinton and Trump in a dead-heat in North Carolina, but Republicans counter that the recent Trump management change will lead to an organizational rise, and likely to an even tighter race for the state.
WRAL.com will stream Clinton's visit to Raleigh live online beginning at 2:30 p.m.