Hillary Clinton capped a marathon campaign with a marathon day on Monday, winding up a historic and dramatic presidential race with a rare midnight rally at N.C. State University.
Clinton began the day in Pittsburgh and flew to Michigan before returning to Philadelphia for a rally with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
Then at midnight she was scheduled to appear at Reynolds Coliseum with former President Bill Clinton, their daughter Chelsea as well as Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi.
The Democratic nominee’s visit was to come after earlier stops by her husband in Greensboro and her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, in Charlotte and Wilmington.
The Clinton campaign believes if they can stop Republican Donald Trump in North Carolina they can stop him, period.
We call it checkmate. We feel that if Hillary wins North Carolina, she’ll be president.
“We call it checkmate,” Kaine said during an unannounced stop at a Charlotte Bojangles’. “We feel that if Hillary wins North Carolina, she’ll be president.”
‘Every vote matters’
North Carolina has emerged as one of the hardest-fought battlegrounds of 2016. Trump held a rally Monday in Raleigh, his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, spoke to supporters Sunday in Hickory, and his daughter-in-law Lara Trump met with women in Mooresville.
Trump was edging Clinton in North Carolina by a slim 1.4 points in the Real Clear Politics polling average Monday. Clinton herself had led by small margins in recent weeks.
The Clinton campaign, with 167 field offices throughout the state, will mobilize an effort Tuesday to get supporters to the polls. That’s beyond the 3.1 million N.C. voters who have already cast ballots in early and absentee voting.
“Every single, solitary vote matters,” Bill Clinton told a UNC Greensboro audience Monday.
Every single, solitary vote matters.
Bill Clinton in Greensboro
Like her husband and other surrogates, Hillary Clinton hammered home her campaign theme: Stronger together.
“For those who are still making up your minds or thinking, ‘Maybe, maybe it’s not worth voting at all,’ let me just say: the choice in this election could not be clearer,” she said in Pittsburgh.
“It really is between division or unity. Between strong and steady leadership or a loose cannon. Between an economy that works for everyone … and an economy that is set up and run for those at the top.”
As she has before, Clinton talked about investing in infrastructure, making college more affordable and achieving equal pay for women.
“This election is going to really set the course of our country,” she said. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Touting other Democrats
In Charlotte, Kaine urged supporters to turn out for what’s expected to be a photo-finish.
He spoke at a get-out-the-vote rally at the Democratic Party’s local headquarters off Albemarle Road. Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democrat who’s challenging Gov. Pat McCrory in another close race, accompanied him on a final swing through the state.
He targeted minority and women voters, key constituencies Democrats need to turn out big. Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton, called him a “feminist to the core,” and Kaine appealed to “all the strong women,” urging female supporters to vote for his running mate.
Kaine also put in a plug for Cooper, criticizing McCrory’s support of House Bill 2, which bars localities from passing protections for LGBT citizens and requires transgender persons in government-run buildings to use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate.
“It weighs heavy on (Cooper),” said Kaine, “that the current governor decided to put a backwards-facing social agenda over the state’s economy.”
Kaine also touted Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Deborah Ross, who is in a tight race against Republican incumbent Richard Burr.
Republican spokeswoman Kara Carter criticized Kaine in advance of his visit.
“No matter how many miles Tim Kaine racks up, he can’t escape his running mate’s reckless decisions that have simply made it impossible for millions of voters to support her,” she said in a statement.
After his Charlotte appearance, Kaine, Cooper and their entourage stopped at the Bojangles’ at West Boulevard and South Tryon Street. Kaine ordered a Chicken Bites Combo along with tea and then went around speaking to startled diners.
“It was a real big surprise,” said customer Doretha Cooper.
Earlier, Kaine said he’s confident but taking nothing for granted.
“Everybody’s watching you, North Carolina,” he told supporters. “If Hillary wins in North Carolina, take it to the bank: She’s president of the United States.”