Naomi Lim of the Washington Examiner explores a key piece of the president’s re-election strategy.

A Democratic presidential candidate has not won North Carolina since former President Barack Obama’s first election in 2008.

But as President Joe Biden returns to the Tar Heel State for the first time since his State of the Union address, his campaign is projecting optimism about his prospects not supported by early polling.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris [were] in North Carolina on Tuesday to deliver public remarks and attend a private fundraiser. Harris was in Durham as recently as last month, and Biden was in Raleigh in January.

“North Carolina is a top battleground in this election, and the Biden-Harris campaign is investing early to communicate with voters across this state and earn their support,” Biden campaign North Carolina spokeswoman Dory MacMillan told the Washington Examiner. “The choice in this election is clear between [former President Donald] Trump’s losing MAGA agenda and hand-picked slate of MAGA extremists, and Democrats who protect our rights and continue to deliver for working families.”

“We’ll continue meeting voters where they are to earn their vote and share what’s at stake in this election, and that’s how we’ll deliver North Carolina for President Biden in November,” MacMillan said.

Regardless, Trump has an average 5 percentage point advantage over Biden in North Carolina, 50% to 45%, according to RealClearPolitics. More specifically, a Marist College poll this month found Trump had a 3-point edge over Biden, 46% to 43%, with independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy receiving 11% of the vote. Trump had the same lead over Biden without Kennedy, 51% to 48%.

“In 2016 and 2020, Democrats lit money on fire in North Carolina only to lose to President Trump,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Anna Kelly told the Washington Examiner.

“With President Trump’s record of success in the state and two North Carolinians at the helm of the RNC, 2024 will be no different. Tar Heel State families have felt the strain of Biden’s failures and are ready to deliver for President Trump yet again,” Kelly said of RNC’s two new co-chairs, former North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley and Lara Trump.