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In North Carolina, a close race between a state senator and the vice president has the stakes rising

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The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll in North Carolina showed a tight race between Democrats Mary Claire and Kevin McCallum and Vice President Joe Biden and Republican state senator Cal Cunningham.

McCallum, the new lieutenant governor of North Carolina, received 43 percent of the vote, the poll found, while Biden had 38 percent and Cunningham got 32 percent.

According to the poll, still in the field Oct. 11-14, McCallum, who was appointed to the position after gubernatorial candidate Dan McCready passed away while campaigning, jumped up a single percentage point from his 34 percent in a poll conducted by the same pollsters in September.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte poll surveyed 620 likely voters in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District — a race that has attracted national attention from all sides.

While the incumbent, Rep. Walter Jones, Republican of Elizabeth City, was losing to Democratic challenger Linda Coleman in the poll, Jones went up a point, as he did in the previous poll.

The poll shows him with 35 percent compared to Coleman’s 28 percent.

Biden has largely avoided the political spotlight in the 9th District, but his name has remained prominent. He visited Asheville on the weekend before the election, an indication of how much he’s been on North Carolina voters’ minds.

“This represents a change in circumstance for us,” Bush Burrus, who is handling communications for the McCallum campaign, said of the pick-up in support for McCallum in the ABC News/Washington Post poll. “Joe Biden has helped us get national attention. We want him to continue to do that.”

Courtesy ABC News

In a nod to the vice president’s focus on the race, the McCallum campaign hosted a Saturday reception with a dinner of the pair, but no Biden, an event the campaign estimated would cost the businessman $100,000.

In the Sept. 13 poll, about one-third of respondents said they were undecided on who they would support in the election, while 41 percent said they were for McCallum and 38 percent for Coleman.

Aides to Biden have acknowledged that recent visits by the senator and their candidate to the campaign trail have had an impact on the race in the 9th District, but Burrus denied that any of the airwaves or ground efforts paid off.

“We went on TV and put stuff in print,” he said, referring to the campaign’s roughly $100,000 ad buy and dedicated press office. “If anyone thought that the timing of those events was going to impact what we were doing on the ground, they’re flat wrong.”

“I think what we are seeing is a shift towards Josh’s message and against that of the incumbent — that he’s done a pretty bad job representing Elizabeth City,” Burrus added.

On the trail, Biden has continued his attacks on President Trump, with an average of 15 minutes devoted to Donald Trump, less than any other politicians in the country, according to CNN.

The campaign’s ad and literature also has touted McCallum’s work as a congressman, beginning his career as a Republican.

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