The Hillary Clinton campaign is pulling out all the stops to get African American voters to cast their ballots early this election season – especially in North Carolina, where her race for the presidency could be won or lost.
A new WRAL News poll released Tuesday showed Republican Donald Trump with a 7-point lead over Clinton in North Carolina. Less than a week ago, the two candidates were virtually tied in their race for the state’s 16 electoral votes.
On Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon, will campaign for Clinton in Charlotte, where he will lead a march to the polls and “underline the importance of early voting,” the Clinton campaign said in a statement.
Lewis’s visit will come just a day ahead of President Barack Obama’s return to North Carolina in support of his former secretary of state. The president is scheduled to attend “Get Out the Early Vote” events in Charlotte and Fayetteville.
If history holds, early voting may prove more crucial for Democrats than for Republicans, who tend to show up in larger numbers on election day. So the Clinton campaign is doing all it can to rally her supporters early.
So far, the results of that effort are unclear.
According to CNN, a dip in African-American turnout has knocked Democratic early voting numbers off their 2012 pace in key battleground states, including in North Carolina, Florida and Georgia.
In North Carolina, the network reported, Democrats have jumped ahead of Republicans by more than 200,000 early votes — but that’s still off the party’s 2012 pace, when Republican Mitt Romney narrowly won the state.
North Carolina Democrats were up by 292,000 early votes at this stage in 2012, CNN said.
Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting a similar trend.
If Clinton can hold on to win in North Carolina, the Times said, Trump’s pathway to the White House “becomes nearly impossible.”
In addition to Obama’s Friday visit to North Carolina – a day before early voting comes to a close – he also is scheduled to hold a rally at UNC-Chapel Hill on Wednesday.
Details of where and when the president’s Charlotte event will be held have not been released. The public can sign up here to attend.