Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will campaign in Raleigh on Tuesday – the same day his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton will hold a rally with President Barack Obama in Charlotte.
Trump is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, said N.C. Republican Party chairman Robin Hayes. Doors open at 4 p.m.
These same-day dueling campaign rallies are the surest sign yet that both sides in the presidential race consider North Carolina a major battleground state.
Another N.C. Republican source said Trump is expected “to address recent major national security developments as well as begin to prosecute Clinton’s election as Obama’s third term.”
After news broke about Trump’s upocoming rally, the N.C. Democratic Party sent out a statement that called Clinton a leader who gets results and dismissed Trump as a fake who merely “play(s) a doer on TV.”
Added another Democratic source: “I'm so glad he's bringing that freak show to North Carolina. Proves that boy is terrified.”
The Tuesday stop in Raleigh will be Trump’s second visit to North Carolina in less than a month. He spoke at a rally in Greensboro on June 14.
Clinton’s 3 p.m. Tuesday event at the Charlotte Convention Center will be her first joint campaign appearance with the Democratic president this year. It will also be her second visit to the state in two weeks. She spoke at a Raleigh rally on June 22.
Clinton has also heavily invested in TV ads now running in North Carolina. Trump has run no ads in the state so far.
But his decision to hold a rally just across the state a few hours after Clinton could be seen as an in-your-face move, a bid for equal media coverage and a statement that he intends to compete for the state’s 15 electoral votes.
No Republican has won the White House without carrying North Carolina since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, so Trump is also playing defense with his Tuesday rally. Recent polls in the state put Clinton slightly ahead of Trump.
Tuesday’s rallies will come just two weeks before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and three weeks before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.