WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney is not pulling out of North Carolina, despite reports suggesting otherwise. In fact, he appears to be transferring just one press officer to Ohio, while keeping all other staffers in the state and all statewide offices open until Election Day.
Last week, it was reported that the Romney campaign leaked that it was winding down operations in North Carolina, confident that the state was firmly in the back pocket of the Republican presidential nominee. News outlets reported it as a "clear sign the campaign is confident" about winning North Carolina.
“With the increasingly widening polls in North Carolina, we will continue to allocate resources, including key senior staff, to other states,” Michael Levoff, a Romney campaign spokesman, told the Raleigh News & Observer.
It appears to have been -- as Democrats claimed at the time -- a head-fake. The Huffington Post placed calls to all 22 Romney Victory offices in the state of North Carolina on Saturday. Each one was still open, with plans to remain that way until Election Day. Asked about reports that Romney was moving resources out of the state, several campaign staffers (not knowing that they were talking to a member of the press) said that those reports were overstated.
"That’s not true," said an official at Romney's Concord Victory Office. "There was one person who left from Raleigh and that’s because we had a pretty deep communications team. We shipped one to Ohio but we still have a pretty deep team in the state."
"We are still open," said an official with the Asheboro Victory Office. "Just a couple of the higher-ups in the state party have gone out of the state. The rest are still here."
"Oh, no, no, no, no," said a staffer at the Southern Pines Victory office in the south-central part of the state. "Don't believe everything you hear."
"All 22 victory offices will be open through Election Day," said an official with the Fayetteville Victory office. "That was a little piece that came to the News & Observer where they just switched around some senior staff."
"We will be here till Election Day," explained another staffer in the Greenville Victory office.
After nearly 20 calls were placed to different offices, several Romney campaign officials called The Huffington Post back to ask why it was inquiring about offices being open. Eventually, the campaign's North Carolina communications director Rachel Adams called as well.
"All of our Victory offices are up and running until Election Day," Adams said.
And why not? The Romney campaign and the RNC are flush with cash, certainly enough to keep operations going in every battleground state.
The polling numbers suggest Romney has a distinct advantage in North Carolina, which President Barack Obama was able to carry by only 14,000 votes in 2008. And the fact that Obama hasn't visited there since the convention, and won't be stopping there in his upcoming 48-hour, six-state tour, suggests that his campaign also sees it as a long shot.
But the decision to keep spending money in North Carolina -- despite suggesting that resources were going to be diverted -- suggests that Romney isn't yet completely confident in a North Carolina win.
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