Democrats here have a problem. To win the state for Hillary Clinton and their statewide candidates—Roy Cooper for governor and Deborah Ross for Senate, in particular—they need high turnout from black voters, on par with what Barack Obama managed in 2008. Almost every black American who comes to the polls in North Carolina is a vote for the Democratic ticket. When you add black turnout to Clinton’s performance among college-educated whites, you take the state off the board for Donald Trump, which puts the White House out of reach, too.
But black voters aren’t turning out the way they did in 2008—at least, they’re not in early voting. They aren’t even turning out the way they did in 2012, when Obama fell short of a majority in the state. Clinton still leads North Carolina, edging out Trump by an average of 3 points, but that’s a little too close for comfort for her and the campaign. Which is why, for this final week before Election Day proper, her most prominent surrogates are making stops in the state, rallying supporters and urging them to vote early.