Vice President Pence to visit Charlotte today for RNC 2020 kickoff event

Vice President Mike Pence will attend a 2020 Republican National Convention kickoff in Charlotte on Wednesday as part of a day-long trip to the state that includes stops in Monroe and Greensboro.

The 2020 Republican National Convention will be held in Charlotte at the Spectrum Center Aug. 24-27. President Donald Trump and Pence are expected to accept the official nomination for their re-election bid at the event.

“We are excited to have the vice president make a visit in Charlotte at a host committee event as he travels across North Carolina,” John Lassiter, CEO of Charlotte’s host committee, said in a statement Monday.

A spokeswoman for the committee declined to say what the event is, where it is or why it’s going to be closed to the media.

Last week Lassiter told the Charlotte Rotary that his group is “way ahead” of earlier conventions in fundraising. And he said the convention could have a $200 million direct and indirect economic impact on the city.

Lassiter said organizers have “a clear pathway” to their goal of raising more than $70 million for the convention.

Organizers expect 50,000 visitors for the convention, including 15,000 journalists from around the world.

The convention will recruit more than 8,000 volunteers, all of whom will be subject to background searches. Visitors, Lassiter has said, “should find this the kindest, most welcoming city on the planet.”

Wednesday, Pence will also visit Parkdale Mills, a textile company that bills itself as “the world leader in yarn manufacturing.” Pence will tour the facility and speak to employees with a focus on the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, according to a White House official.

The USMCA was negotiated by the Trump administration as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The new trade deal has not yet passed Congress.

In the evening, Pence will headline a Trump Victory fundraiser in Greensboro. Sen. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican who is facing re-election and a GOP primary challenger in 2020, will also be at the event. So, too, will Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

North Carolina is expected to be a battleground state in 2020. Democrat Barack Obama won the state and the presidency in 2008, then lost North Carolina to Mitt Romney in 2012 while winning a second term. In 2016, Trump carried the state with 49.8 percent of the vote to 46.2 percent for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The state has 15 electoral votes.

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Brian Murphy covers North Carolina’s congressional delegation and state issues from Washington, D.C., for The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and The Herald-Sun. He grew up in Cary and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. He previously worked for news organizations in Georgia, Idaho and Virginia. Reach him at 202.383.6089 or bmurphy@mcclatchydc.com.