Speaker John Boehner touched down in North Carolina today for a weekend of rallies and fundraisers aimed at turning the battleground state solidly red.
As part of his continued campaign travels around the country for GOP incumbents and challengers, Boehner will attend three rallies and three fundraisers through Saturday and will stop by campaign offices to meet with local campaign staffers.
“The Speaker has been pretty clear all summer that this November is about being on offense, and probably nowhere is that more clear than in North Carolina,” the Ohio Republican’s spokesman Cory Fritz said. “Look at the number of House pickup opportunities we have here, the strength of the Romney campaign.”
Indeed, Republicans are likely to pick up three seats in the state — those of retiring Reps. Heath Shuler (D) and Brad Miller (D) and Rep. Larry Kissell (D) — and they may steal another from Rep. Mike McIntyre (D), who is locked in a tossup race.
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has also been polling ahead of President Barack Obama in the state, which Obama narrowly won in the 2008 election against Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).
Fritz said he expects Boehner’s message to be “all jobs and the economy” and noted that the Speaker is likely to bring up Vice President Joseph Biden’s recent comments that the middle class has been “buried” over the past four years.
Starting in Shuler’s Asheville district, Boehner will participate in a rally for Romney at the city’s roughly 10,000-capacity U.S. Cellular Center. Romney will attend the event, as will former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a Fox News host, and country music singer Ronnie Milsap.
Since the vice presidential debate is tonight, Boehner will tout the GOP nominee, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.).
“He feels bad for Joe Biden, to a point, in this debate because no one has a better understanding of pro-growth economics than Paul Ryan,” Fritz said.
On Friday morning, Boehner will host a fundraiser for Mark Meadows, who is running against Shuler’s former chief of staff, Hayden Rogers, to succeed the three-term Congressman.
Following the fundraiser, Boehner will travel to Charlotte to thank volunteer staff working on the campaigns of Richard Hudson, who is looking to unseat Kissell, and Robert Pittenger, who is likely to replace retiring Rep. Sue Myrick (R). Boehner will also hold a public program outside to talk about what is at stake in this election and will hold another fundraiser that evening.
On Saturday, Boehner will travel to Raleigh to greet campaign staff for Rep. Renee Ellmers and for George Holding, who looks to succeed Miller.
Finally, Boehner will travel to Wilmington to attend a private fundraiser for David Rouzer, who is locked in a tossup race against McIntyre.
Fritz would not detail the costs of the three fundraisers.
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.