Donald Trump's Saturday night speech in Greenville, North Carolina, has some Republicans in the state on edge over fears the unpredictable ex-president will make their jobs harder in a state that can no longer be counted upon as a Republican stronghold.
With a key U.S. Senate seat open -- and questions about whether Trump will endorse his daughter-in-law Lara Trump -- there are concerns some of his endorsements will be the kiss of death when it comes to appealing to independent voters who have overwhelmingly abandoned him.
According to a report from the Fayetteville Observer, one political scientist said Trump's visit will be a litmus test demonstrating how popular he remains.
Explained Chris Cooper at Western Carolina University. "Obviously this was a swing state that he won. So if he wants to remind people that he can win in divided America, there's no better example than North Carolina."
State Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley added, "We invited him. With North Carolina having been a true battleground state in 2016 and 2020, … and the fact that we delivered for him in both elections, you know, was really important," before admitting he expects another fight at the ballot boxes on 2022.
However, according to longtime GOP political consultant Carter Wrenn, Trump's visit could come at a cost.
"In 2020, you had a group of swing voters at the end who disliked both Trump and Biden, and so that helped Trump win North Carolina," Wrenn explained. "But the fact is, you've still got two-thirds of independents who dislike Trump. … His endorsing a candidate in a general election, it's gonna hurt with those swing voters, and that's who you have to have to win the election. So I think, I think there's some problems with it. Yeah."
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