On Tuesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were in Wake County with Gov. Roy Cooper, a fellow Democrat, to rally supporters over healthcare costs. The visit comes during the week of the 14th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act under the Obama administration. The two followed the event with a political fundraiser in downtown Raleigh that took in a record $2.3 million.

The speech centered on the Obamacare anniversary but Biden repeated attacks on pharmaceutical companies for drug prices and called for increased taxes, deficit reduction, and a spending boost for Ukraine. He repeatedly used the word “MAGA” in reference to former President Donald Trump and other Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“Even during the pandemic, Trump and his MAGA friends in Congress wanted to get rid of the ACA and kick millions of Americans off their health insurance. It’s sick.” said Biden.

why north carolina?

Cooper and North Carolina top Biden’s list of target states with ally governors. This is the second North Carolina stop so far this year for Biden and Harris, plus several for Biden cabinet members including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan. However, all their visits have been in urban “blue” areas of the state, where their Democrat policy priorities are likely to garner crowd support.

Once outside of the Triangle and Charlotte, the mood sours on the Biden presidency. In Carolina Journal’s latest poll, 54% of urban respondents approve of the the job Biden is doing. Among suburban voters, 42% approve.

However, among rural voters, Biden has just a 28% approval rating and a 69% disapproval rating.

Among those rural North Carolina areas struggling under the weight of inflation is Congressional District 01, currently represented by Democrat Rep. Don Davis. The Republican National Committee, now led by former NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley, hopes to flip NC-01 this fall.

“Joe Biden and Don Davis are directly to blame for out-of-control inflation across North Carolina. Biden lost North Carolina in 2020, and he, along with Don Davis, will lose it again in 2024,” said NRCC Spokeswoman Delanie Bomar in a press statement Tuesday.

With approval ratings like that, and knowing that no Democrat president has won this state in 16 years, why is the Biden campaign spending so much time and capital in North Carolina with a term-limited Democrat governor?

“Biden lost North Carolina by less than 75,000 votes in 2020, the smallest margin of any state Trump won,” said Andy Jackson, director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity at the John Locke Foundation. “That makes North Carolina the only state Trump won in 2020 where Biden has a realistic path to victory in 2024. In other words, the Tar Heel State is the only place the Biden campaign can play offense while defending the ‘blue wall’ of Trump 2016/Biden 2020 states such as Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.”

Add to that, Biden sees Cooper as one of his strongest ambassadors for the administration’s policies. Cooper is on the Biden-Harris 2024 National Advisory Board with former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and other national party heavyweights.

39% of NC respondents said they would vote for Biden

Overall in North Carolina, the CJ Poll found that just 39% of respondents said they would vote for Biden if the election were held today. Just over 45% said they planned to vote for Trump, and 9.4% said they planned to vote for “someone else.”

“As North Carolina families realize their paychecks don’t go as far as they did four years ago thanks to Bidenomics, as crime and unchecked illegal immigration threaten our communities, and as today’s Democratic Party embraces radical left-wing ideologies, it’s clear our state and nation was safer and more prosperous with President Donald Trump,” said NCGOP Communications Director Matt Mercer.

Public frustration with inflation is a big contributor to that number, with 20% of both Republicans and Democrats in the CJ Poll saying the economy was their top voting issue. Among Republicans, 45% of voters said immigration was the most important issue, while among Democrats 25% said abortion was most important.

pro-palestinian demonstrators interrupt speech

Biden’s speech was disrupted Tuesday at Chavis Community Center by pro-Palestinian demonstrators shouting in the audience, “What about healthcare in Gaza?!”

“Be patient with them. They have a point. We need a lot more care in Gaza,” said Biden.

The demonstrators were escorted out by police, as Democrat Attorney General Josh Stein, state House Minority Leader Robert Reives, and others rose to applaud Biden. Stein was front and center at the Biden speech, running to succeed Cooper as the next Democrat governor of North Carolina. The Republican Governor’s Association took the opportunity to draw a public connection between Stein and the unpopular president with a mobile billboard circulating in Raleigh on Tuesday.

Republican Governor’s Association mobile billboard on Stein and Biden. Source: rga.org

“North Carolina families are less safe because of Josh Stein’s failed leadership and the dangerous Biden-Harris agenda of increased crime, and a spiking drug crisis,” said RGA National Press Secretary Courtney Alexander. “With Biden and Harris in town, North Carolinians deserve to know the facts about the real Josh Stein.”

As the president wrapped up his speech, he was joined on stage by Cooper and Harris waving to supporters.

“This guy right here, this is the best governor in the United States,” Biden said, gesturing to Cooper.

Biden and Harris were scheduled to attend a private fundraiser Tuesday before heading back to Washington, DC.