Is Romney avoiding the Triangle?

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop in Omaha, Neb.,Thursday, May 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
August 15, 2012 3:18:52 PM PDT
GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney was back in North Carolina Wednesday to hold a fundraiser in Charlotte.

However, since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Romney has yet to campaign in the Triangle. Some are asking if and why Romney is avoiding the area. It's an assertion that Republicans deny.

The numbers may not favor Romney in the Triangle but his campaign insists that they haven't given up on competing here for votes.

"I am confident that Mitt Romney will win North Carolina in this election," said Rep. Renee Ellmers.

At GOP Headquarters in Raleigh, Republicans aren't just hoping Romney wins North Carolina. They said he has to.

"President Obama can afford to lose North Carolina," said N.C. State Political Science Professor Steven Greene. "Mitt Romney, I don't think can."

Greene is just one of many political analysts who thinks North Carolina is a "must-win" for Romney. The state was reliably Republican until President Obama's upset win in 2008.

Now, the GOP is determined to win it back. Romney rallied voters in High Point and Mooresville Sunday. He's been to Charlotte twice since securing the nomination.

However, he canceled a weekend stop in Morrisville. So far, he's held no public events in Wake, Durham, or Orange Counties. It's raising questions about whether Romney has given up on winning the Triangle.

"I think it's a little early to say whether he's given up on this region, but certainly it's not going to be his strength within this state," said Greene. "This is an area that has leaned increasingly Democratic."

Republicans blame campaign logistics for Romney's cancelation in Morrisville. They insist Romney will compete for Triangle voters.

"We will not win this election with Republican votes only," said Ellmers. "We need Dems. We need independents, but we will see him here. North Carolina is vital to this election."

"In terms of Romney making the most impact and really energizing Republican voters, he'll probably have more success in other parts of the state," said Greene.

At Romney Campaign Headquarters in Raleigh, an aide told ABC11 that Romney will spend plenty of time here in the Triangle between now and the election. However, there are no hard dates on when and where.

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