Sen. Barack Obama is coming back to North Carolina.
Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, is coming to Raleigh on Monday to kick off a two-week tour of the country focusing on the economy. The invitation-only event will be at the N.C. State Fairgrounds, with doors opening at 11 a.m.
In choosing North Carolina as one of his first general election appearances, Obama is sending a signal that he is seriously looking at contesting the Tar Heel state.
“North Carolina is in play,” said U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield of Wilson, an Obama supporter. “We are a purple state. We are neither red nor blue.”
N.C. voters have backed a Democrat for president only once in the past 40 years: Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Butterfield said one goal of Obama's visit is to reach out to the 20 percent of the electorate that is registered as unaffiliated.