HENDERSONVILLE, North Carolina (CNN) – Hillary Clinton returned to North Carolina on Friday, looking to close the gap with Barack Obama ahead of Tuesday’s primary by trawling for voters in the state’s more rural areas.
“There’s power in them there hills,” said supporter North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, warming up the crowd at a rally in the hilly western part of the state. “The mountains of North Carolina have about 10 percent of the vote in this state. It’s no accident that Hillary Clinton has been up here as many times as she has.”
Earlier in the day, the New York senator was joined by two of her upstate constituents who praised her support of the agriculture industry at a rally at a John Deere sales center in rural Kinston. Clinton and her surrogates often tout her success in New York’s conservative upstate farming counties as proof that she can not only work with Republicans but that she looks out for small town USA.
“[I’m] just feeling so much at home because small towns – whether they’re in North Carolina, New York or Arkansas – are really the base of this country,” Clinton told the large crowd outside the Hendersonville courthouse. “Small towns gave us our values, small towns give us so much of the texture of our lives and we’ve got to make sure we never lose that.”
Clinton is neck and neck with Obama in Tuesday’s other contest in Indiana, and has chipped away at his lead in North Carolina since her win in Pennsylvania. Today she told supporters she needs “a big, big vote here in North Carolina.”
“This primary election on Tuesday is a game-changer,” Clinton in Kinston. “This is going to make a huge difference in what happens going forward.”