Local Politics

Conventions signal start of serious campaign crunch

Posted September 7, 2012 8:53 p.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2012 7:18 a.m. EDT

— The delegates may have departed Charlotte, but the presidential campaign and its focus on North Carolina voters really gets heated up in September. 

Democratic consultant Scott Falmlen and Republican strategist Marc Rotterman don't agree on much, but they see a virtual tie in the Tar Heel state between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

"I think you're fighting over 4 or 5 percent at this point," Rotterman said. 

The political junkies who attend conventions are fired up, and the parties hope they can translate that energy into votes.

"The job of a convention these days is to rev up the base and to get people leaving the site very, very motivated," said Dr. Andy Taylor, political science professor at North Carolina State University.

Falmlen and Rotterman agree that, while both candidates want support in the swing state and the 15 electoral votes that would entail, Romney needs North Carolina more.

"It's a must-win state for Republicans, no question about it," Rotterman said. 

"There are multiple paths for Barack Obama to win without North Carolina, but I think he will," Falmlen said. Taylor agreed with that analysis. "I think they understand strategically that they can lose North Carolina and win," he said.

Both sides are likely to keep an eye on the polls and the economic data in North Carolina as they decide how to spend their time and money leading up to November.

"North Carolina is obviously a battleground state, and I think both sides are going to be here," Falmlen said. 

As long as the race stays too close to call, North Carolina will remain in the political spotlight.