Politics & Government

Presidential candidate Kamala Harris coming to NC, with stops in Durham and Greensboro

Kamala Harris, democratic candidate, visits Myrtle Beach

Kamala Harris, democratic presidential candidate visits the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina on July 8, 2019.
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Kamala Harris, democratic presidential candidate visits the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina on July 8, 2019.

Presidential candidate Kamala Harris will campaign in North Carolina next weekend, at an African American organization in Durham and at an event in Greensboro.

Harris is a U.S. senator from California and was the second African American woman to be elected to the Senate when she won in 2016. She was also the first African American and first woman to serve as attorney general for the state.

Harris is the keynote speaker Aug. 24 at the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People’s 84th Founders’ Day banquet. The Durham Committee’s political action committee makes endorsements and has been active in advocating for the African American community for decades. Previous speakers at its Founders’ Day banquet have included U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, and Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor and television host.

Tickets to this year’s Durham Committee banquet, which cost between $70 and $850, are sold out. The group will also honor the city’s former Mayor Bill Bell and former Judge Elaine O’Neal, who is now interim dean of N.C. Central University Law School.

Omar Beasley, chair of the Durham Committee, said they have been trying to get Harris as a speaker for the past few years. He said that he likes what she stands for.

“We try to get people energized and hopefully get our constituency excited about going to the polls,” Beasley said.

Durham’s population is 37.3% African American, according to the U.S. Census, and has a history of prominent African American leaders serving in elected office and community leadership roles. Parrish Street downtown is historic Black Wall Street, and African American owned-NC Mutual Life Insurance Company and Mechanics & Farmers Bank were both founded in the city.

On the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 25, Harris will visit Greensboro for a campaign organizing event, but the location has yet to be announced.

North Carolina is considered a swing state in the presidential election, as voters previously went for both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. New data about the state shows increasing numbers of people of color and millennial voters eligible to vote.

Harris has already campaigned this summer in South Carolina. Her latest campaign ad lays out her policy agenda, which she calls her “3am Agenda.” Harris has defended her attorney general record in debates.

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Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan covers North Carolina state government and politics at The News & Observer. She previously covered Durham for 13 years, and has received six North Carolina Press Association awards, including a 2018 award for investigative reporting.