President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Charlotte on Friday evening in a bid to bolster Republican lawmakers in Congress from the Tar Heel State, as GOP groups are pouring money into a pair of races there to protect Republican seats in the Congress, all part of a sweeping effort led by the President to keep Republicans in control of the U.S. House.
Getting the most focus in recent months are Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), a freshman elected in 2016, and Mark Harris, who defeated a GOP incumbent in the primary, and is now trying to defend an open seat.
Both of those races are seen by a number of political experts as toss-ups; the national GOP campaign arm this week made an $800,000 ad buy to help Harris in his election bid, and also added a $616,000 ad purchase for Rep. George Holding (R-NC), whose has been favored to win re-election, but finds himself in a much tougher than expected race.
The number of votes already cast in North Carolina is quickly nearing a million, which experts consider high for what is known as a 'blue moon midterm' election, where the races for Congress are really the only significant items on the November ballot, with no race for U.S. Senate or Governor.
"North Carolina's early voters are still acting like it's a presidential year in terms of the numbers," said Dr. Michael Bitzer, an elections expert on North Carolina politics, as he says the numbers definitely show an uptick in turnout when compared to past mid-terms in 2010 and 2014.
Those who know the numbers say that so far in North Carolina, Democrats are not generating a big jump in early voting turnout, even though they have a clear edge in the number of early ballots cast according to figures released by the state board of elections.
The latest reviews of the battle for the House from national political expert all have the same kind of outlook - showing many more Republican seats in the "toss up" or "lean" category than on the Democratic side.
"Of the 46 R seats we rate as most vulnerable (Toss Up or worse), *33* are predominantly suburban," said Dave Wasserman, an elections expert with the Cook Political Report, who believes "any House takeover is very likely to be driven by anti-Trump suburbs."
"The “blue wave” = suburban women," Wasserman tweeted earlier this week.
If you look at the latest House race review from Wasserman and the Cook Political team, the weight of the race jumps right out at you - as so many more Republican seats are in question in the House than seats held by the Democrats.
The Friday night rally in Charlotte is one of the final ten campaign stops the President is planning to make in the waning days of the 2018 mid-term elections.
Air Force One will go to a small town in southern Illinois on Saturday for another rally, then the President will fly to Fort Myers, Florida for a campaign stop on Tuesday - one week before Election Day.
Where the President goes - and where he does not - will provide an interesting window into how he believes he can help the GOP in the November mid-term elections.
Election Day is November 6.
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