President and first lady set to visit NC next week

 June 4, 2023

First Lady Jill Biden is poised to travel to North Carolina next week to highlight several administration initiatives in the realm of education and the military, and it has also been confirmed that the president himself is expected to be by her side for the trip, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

The visit comes amid reports that Democrats are increasingly urging the president to devote considerable energy to winning the Tar Heel State as part of his 2024 presidential campaign.

First couple to NC

According to the outlet, the Bidens are slated to spend a portion of their visit in Rocky Mount in order to tout the administration's “Investing in America” agenda.

Issues of workforce training and career-centered learning will reportedly take center stage for the pair.

From there, the Bidens will head to Fort Liberty – previously known as Fort Bragg – where the first lady's push to facilitate greater support for military families, survivors, and caregivers will be brought to the forefront at an event held in conjunction with Joining Forces.

The visit will mark the first time the president has set foot on the Army base since it was renamed in a broader initiative designed to eliminate Confederate-era names from official installations.

Renewed focus on state

As NPR reports, high-profile leaders in the Democratic Party have made it clear to the Biden camp that North Carolina should receive significant attention as the 2024 campaign begins to gain steam.

Earlier this year, the outlet notes, Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-NC) spoke directly to Biden about the situation when he traveled to an event in Durham.

Nickel says he told the president, “If the campaign goes all in, we can win North Carolina, but we need that support and that investment. The votes are there; we've just got to get them out to vote.”

The lawmaker added that Biden clearly understood that North Carolina was the state he lost in 2020 by the closest margin of any, and now that his campaign has issued a strategy memo proclaiming its goal of winning there in 2024, it seems that Nickel's message was received.

Long odds?

Though Democrats such as Nickel appear bullish on the prospect of a big win in the state in 2024, Republican strategists remain skeptical, as NPR further notes.

GOP consultant Jonathan Felts opined that Biden's low approval ratings and overall unpopularity could prove to be a serious drag on Democratic hopes, asserting that the president's presence at campaign events with down-ballot candidates in the upcoming cycle could be a boon to conservatives.

Comparing Biden's situation with that of President Barack Obama, who won North Carolina in 2008, Felts noted that Obama had a massive on-the-ground organization in North Carolina, lots of campaign funds, and an abundance of good will from the electorate – and even at that, only prevailed in the end by 0.32%.

In Felts' estimation, “Democrats are starting with a huge disadvantage, and the smart ones know it. And so if they want to waste their money here, God bless 'em,” and the Bidens' Friday visit may well be the start of such an endeavor, for better or worse.

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