Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Biden Will Focus on North Carolina

Joe Biden's team is greedily eyeing North Carolina, a state Barack Obama won in 2008 and Biden lost by only 1.4% in 2020. With a fresh abortion ban, steady population growth in urban and suburban areas, and a highly contentious gubernatorial race, they smell possible victory here. They believe that if Biden wins North Carolina's 16 electoral votes (as many as Georgia has and more than Arizona's 11 or Wisconsin's 10), no Republican has any plausible path to victory.

State Democrats want Biden to visit the state often and invest heavily in it. They think it is winnable. The governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Democrats, so Democrats can and do win statewide races.

North Carolina's Republican-dominated state legislature passed a ban on abortions after 12 weeks in May, overriding the veto of Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) in the process. That guarantees that abortion will be a top issue in 2024. While not as strict as the bans in some other states, it is enough to energize Democrats and young voters generally.

Demographics are another key issue. The population was 9.3 million when Obama won in 2008. It will be 10.7 million in 2024. Much of that growth is due to migration from other states, especially to the Research Triangle area bounded by three big research universities: the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina State in Raleigh, and Duke in Durham. There are also many start-ups around the Triangle and the people who work there tend to be college educated and probably skew Democratic. In addition, about 120,000 young people hit 18 every year in North Carolina. Since Obama's victory in 2008, that is almost 2 million new voters, separate from migration. In short, the potential Democratic voters are there. They just have to be registered and gotten to the polls.

Finally, the race to succeed the term-limited Cooper gives the Democrats hope. AG Josh Stein, a fairly generic Democrat, is running. The Democrats are hoping the Republican candidate is Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. Then they could run against the Trump-Robinson duo, which means running against an extremely right-wing loony and also Donald Trump. Did all those new people come to North Carolina for that? However, if the Republican presidential nominee is a real Southerner, say, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Nikki Haley, or Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), then the Republicans will probably win the state. (V)

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