Is NC's role as a battleground state waning?

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama shake hands before the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. (Charlie Neibergall)
October 18, 2012 3:43:53 PM PDT
Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is shifting resources and some workers out of North Carolina.

Campaign official Michael Levoff said Thursday the shift includes key senior staff in North Carolina, including chief spokesman Robert Reid. Levoff points to "increasingly widening polls" in the state for the move.

He said the state's 24 Republican campaign offices will remain open and expects strong get-out-the-vote efforts to continue.

President Obama and Mitt Romney have not been frequent visitors to the state lately. Their campaigns are fanning out and trying to push voters to the polls. So, is North Carolina really a battleground state?

Romney has only made six stops in North Carolina all year.  Instead, he's been sending surrogates to make his case for him. Thursday, it was Republican National Chairman Reince Preibus talking to students at N.C. State.

"Look at Mitt Romney, a man who's made promises and kept promises," said Preibus. "Everything he's touched he's been successful."

President Obama has only been to the Tar Heel State three times this year, one of which was for the convention.  Thursday, Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was also on the campus of N.C. State.

"President Obama needs North Carolina. He needs folks to understand how critical this election is," said Wasserman-Schultz. "This is an important battle ground state.

ABC11 asked Wasserman-Schultz why the president himself hasn't spent more time here.

"Well, we've had the first lady and the vice president and we've had significant surrogates," said Wasserman-Schultz. "I mean, I think North Carolina has had a non-stop stream of top tier surrogates, but what we're doing is, ah, this is a big country."

Both Wasserman-Schultz and Preibus maintain their candidates are focused on North Carolina.

"We've called 10 times more voters, as of today, than in 2008 and over 100 times more doors knocked today than they were in all of 2008," said Preibus.

"We have stood up the most significant dynamic grass roots presidential campaign in North Carolina history," said Wasserman-Schultz.

But the fact remains that the candidates themselves have been spending most of their time somewhere else.

They've been in other battlegrounds states. President Obama has made 20 appearances in Ohio since the start of the year. Romney has made 30.

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