Wake County is one of 25 counties nationwide that will be a major “battleground” in the presidential race, according to a POLITICO article Monday.
While the majority of Wake voters have picked the Democrat in the past two presidential cycles, POLITICO notes that Republican Donald Trump “will need to cut into Clinton’s advantage here in North Carolina’s second-most populous county since Clinton is likely to roll up the score in Democratic Mecklenburg County.”
The Trump campaign has been less active than Hillary Clinton’s campaign in North Carolina so far, and it recently hired a new state director and other staffers. Trump will be in the state Tuesday for rallies in Wilmington and Fayetteville.
But the Trump camp still hasn’t been in contact with Wake County Republican Party Chairman John Bryant.
“I have not spoken to anybody from the Trump campaign about the Trump campaign,” Bryant said Monday afternoon, adding that it’s possible the campaign might have contacted someone else in the county party.
After Bryant’s comments were published, Wake GOP first vice-chairman Charles Hellwig said there’s no lack of coordination with the Trump campaign.
“I can’t speak to what John’s involvement with the campaign has been, but I assure you the Wake County Republican Party is working hand-in-glove with the Trump campaign and we are going to maximize the votes for Trump here in Wake,” Hellwig said in an email. “Last week alone, I spent 10+ hours sitting in actual meetings with the campaign.”
Bryant said he’s been collaborating with the campaigns of Gov. Pat McCrory, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. He says anytime the county party hears from a GOP candidate, “we’re going to try our level best to deliver.”
“We’re going to support every one of them as best we can,” Bryant said.
POLITICO noted that Trump lost in many of the counties it considers battlegrounds, including Wake, where Texas Sen. Ted Cruz got the most votes in the March primary. Several GOP leaders in counties listed told the publication that Trump has reached out to them personally for advice.
Asked what Republicans must do to make Wake a red county again, Bryant said the goal is to “get the message of the Republican Party out – not the message that people like to paint us with.”