Political analysts say North Carolina is shaping up as a potential "battleground" state in the November presidential election - a state that could swing either to the Republican or Democratic candidate.
North Carolina has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976, and President Bush won the state in 2000 by 13 percentage points
But observers say Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's naming of North Carolina Senator John Edwards as his running mate could sway voters in the southern state.
Democrats say Mr. Edwards, a successful trial lawyer with working-class roots in North Carolina, could appeal to a broad section of the state's population.
But Republicans say President Bush understands the state's values and that his conservative agenda will continue to appeal to North Carolina's voters.