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Is VP Harris Pres. Biden’s “Secret Weapon” In N.C?



Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris made her fifth visit to North Carolina this year, and thirteenth to the state since taking office in 2021. The occasion was an address on economic opportunity and advancement for African Americans, and the place was Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte.

“I believe very strongly that the accomplishments of our administration — such as creating 15 million new jobs [overall]; creating over 800,000 new manufacturing jobs; the historic low unemployment, particularly for the Black community, are critically important,” Harris said, with fellow Democrats Gov. Roy Cooper, Mayor Vi Lyles, and actor Michael Ealy, among others, in attendance.

Harris reminded the audience of the Biden-Harris Administration’s success thus far for the Black community such as creating 2.6 million jobs for African Americans, overseeing the lowest Black unemployment rate in U.S. history, the fastest creation of Black-owned businesses in thirty years, increasing wealth for Black families, and more federal contracts for minority-owned businesses.

“I’m very aware that, you know, we can do all this good stuff in Washington, D.C.,” Harris continued, “but if it doesn’t hit the streets, it doesn’t matter.” 

There’s a reason why VP Harris, the first Black woman ever to serve in the post, has made so many visits to the Tar Heel State, political observers say.

She’s proven to be effective in the Biden Administration’s outreach to North Carolina’s African American community in cities like Charlotte, Raleigh Greensboro and Durham, four of the state’s largest cities with considerable African American communities.

And make no mistake, those observers note, if the Biden-Harris campaign intends to win North Carolina and its 16 Electoral College votes - one of six critical battleground states in the upcoming November 5th presidential election - then winning North Carolina’s loyal Black Democratic voting base will be key.

If that happens, it would be the first time since Barack Obama, the last Democrat to win the state, did so in 2008.

Several weeks ago, the Biden-Harris Campaign launched “Black Voters for Biden-Harris”, which, according to National Public Radio, is described by the campaign as “…a summer of mobilization, to earn votes and not take them for granted.”

That effort is hoping to maximize Black voter turnout in rural counties, where African Americans tend to be as conservative as their White counterparts. The Biden-Harris campaign is also praying that a significant number of Black voters don’t sit out this election, or worse yet, vote for Trump, as some press reports are predicting.

Per recent polls, just five months until Election Day, show Republican former Pres. Donald Trump currently leads Pres. Biden by at least five points statewide, according to East Carolina University’s Center for Survey Research. Whether that is enough time to energize North Carolina’s African American vote - even with a polarizing governor’s race between a controversial Black Republican and a White Jewish Democrat leading the ballot - is yet to be seen.

Democratic organizers are hoping fresh efforts to turnout the Black vote; in concert with new get-out-the-vote efforts in the state’s conservative rural areas; population growth in North Carolina’s bluest counties and hopes that the Republican Party’s top of the ticket “bomb throwing” conservative culture warrior candidates will turn off many North Carolina voters, will be the keys to victory in November.

Trump narrowly won the state in 2020 by 75,000 votes.

According to a survey by Politico/Morning Consult, Harris has a 67 percent favorability rating nationally with Black voters, compared to 63 percent for her boss, Pres. Biden.

Per North Carolina, VP Harris has helped open at least one of ten Biden-Harris campaign field offices across the state, while the Trump campaign has yet to open its first. 

“Elections matter,” Harris told supporters in Charlotte last March. “Organizing matters. Showing up matters. Remembering the strength and power of our voice matters.”

“She’s one of the administration’s best spokespeople to the Black community,” Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons, who once served as Harris’s communications director, told The Hill. “The president has been making the case to the Black community as well, but obviously the VP has a different kind of appeal.”