Politics & Government

Obama will visit Raleigh on Monday

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.