The Obama camp has repeatedly boasted they can win North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes, so it’s no surprise that the campaign visited Raleigh to kick off its economic tour. As I wrote last year my National Journal article “Is North Carolina the New Virginia?,” the Research Trinagle around Raleigh is changing in many of the same ways that Northern Virginia changed 15 years ago, and in turn, is increasingly influencing statewide elections the way NoVA does.
I emailed Ferrell Guillory, director of the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill, and asked what he thought about Obama’s chances in North Carolina in 2008. This is what he told me:
“The embedded GOP general election vote surely makes McCain the frontrunner in N.C. Still, like Virginia, NC going through a transition, economically and socially that will eventually have a ripple effect politically. I’d say Virginia is somewhat farther along that N.C. in that transition. If Obama has any chance here, he clearly — emphatically — must stimulate a strong turnout in Raleigh and Research Triangle environs, not only among black citizens but also among independent high-tech folks and young newly arrived voters. It makes sense for the Obama campaign to make an early stop here to assess the situation — and determine later whether it’s worth investing more time and resources to the state. To win N.C., he has to change the dynamic.”