Politics & Government

GOP opens 'Victory headquarters' in North Carolina

Calling North Carolina "ground zero" in the presidential campaign, Republican national chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday that his party's grass-roots effort will beat Democrats "across the board" in the state.

Priebus spoke at the opening of a Charlotte “Victory headquarters,” one of four such offices opening across the state.

Obama for America, which has operated in North Carolina since 2008, has opened 15 campaign offices across the state.

“We’re going to match them and surpass them,” Priebus told reporters after opening the headquarters. “We’re not looking to match the Obama campaign. We’re looking to beat them. We’re planning to beat them across the board.”

Priebus announced that U.S. Sen. Richard Burr would lead the party’s North Carolina campaign.

In 2008, Barack Obama won North Carolina by 14,000 votes. He hopes to repeat the victory. That’s one reason the Democrats are planning to hold their national convention in Charlotte in September.

Convention officials have said they hope to use the convention to mobilize volunteers and supporters. Priebus, in his first public visit to Charlotte, said North Carolina Republicans would “have what they need.”

“We’re prepared to spend more than we’ve ever spent before; let’s put it that way,” he said.

Priebus also criticized Obama for the number of his campaign trips and for his policies.

“We need to end the European nightmare in the White House,” he told supporters.

Democratic Party spokesman Adam Hodge said that “despite Republican attempts to distort President Obama’s record of accomplishments, North Carolinians understand that he stopped the country from slipping into another Great Depression.

“We have built a robust operation across the state. Despite their bluster, Republicans will not out-organize or out-mobilize voters in North Carolina who understand that Obama is the only candidate looking out for working families.”

Asked whether he would consider being Mitt Romney’s running mate if offered, Burr said, “Anyone who says they wouldn’t be open if asked by the nominee would be disingenuous.

“The No. 1 test Romney ought to use is, ‘Could they be president?’ ”

To read more, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.