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Inside Politics: New NC GOP chairman isn't worried about Democrat's fundraising spree

Man stands in front of flag
North Carolina Republican Party
NC GOP Chairman Jason Simmons

A version of this news analysis originally appeared in the Inside Politics newsletter, out Fridays. Sign up here to get it first to your inbox.

North Carolina Democrats are raising lots of money.

The Biden campaign has opened up at least 10 campaign field offices and appears to be making an investment comparable to Barack Obama’s efforts in 2008 and 2012 (he won North Carolina the first time and lost the second).

North Carolina's Biden campaign manager David Berrios has said the Trump campaign doesn’t appear to have any real presence in the state.

But Jason Simmons said he’s not worried. He’s the new chair of the state Republican Party. He took over from Michael Whatley, who became co-chair of the Republican National Committee in March.

“What you are seeing now are the unsexy, unfun things happening,” he said. “Like campaign infrastructure, making sure we have volunteers trained so we can deploy them," said Simmons. “Democrats can point to shiny objects. Those are not going to be things that win elections. It will be one-on-one conversations with friends, neighbors, people we go to church with.”

Simmons said the start party’s biggest asset is Trump.

“If you look at 2016 and 2020 — where Trump showed up, Republicans over-performed. You can even point to Dan Bishop’s race (for Congress) in 2019. Trump held a rally in the Fayetteville area and got Dan Bishop over the finish line," Simmons said.

He added his thoughts on Trump's ongoing criminal trial in Manhattan: “Which is why it’s such a shame right now there is a judge who is preventing President Trump from getting his message out to voters.”

In 2020, Republicans highlighted Trump’s criminal justice reform in an attempt to win some Black voters. In early 2020, the campaign announced it was going to open offices in Black neighborhoods, although the pandemic ended that.

In 2024, it doesn’t appear the state party or the Trump campaign is planning any special outreach to local Black and Latino voters, despite polls showing Trump winning more votes from minorities than he did four years ago.

“We are going after all voters,” Simmons said. “We will deliver a message that expands the traditional Republican base. Those outreach efforts are well underway to champion a message of conservative principles.”

The GOP statewide ticket has extreme candidates, like Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is running for governor, and Michele Morrow, who defeated Republican incumbent Catherine Truitt in the race for superintendent of public instruction.

Morrow has a long social media history, which includes saying former President Barack Obama should be executed.

Inside Politics asked Simmons about her statements and whether any Republicans were slow to support her.

(U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis has said he will not.)

“Primaries are always messy,” he said. “When you have intra-party dynamics, there is always healing that has to be taken care of.”

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.