RALEIGH, N.C. -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain has scheduled a campaign stop in Wilmington, his first North Carolina visit with voters since May.
McCain's campaign said Friday that the GOP candidate will hold a town hall-type event at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington on Monday afternoon.
Tickets are available to the public beginning at noon Saturday from the McCain campaign office in Wilmington.
McCain last appeared before voters in May at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. He last visited North Carolina in June, when he met privately with evangelist Billy Graham.
The announcement comes after Democratic candidate Barack Obama spent several days in western North Carolina preparing for this week's debate with McCain.
Michelle Obama visited Jacksonville and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was in Greenville on Tuesday.
The increasing activity is one measure of the fact that North Carolina, and its 15 electoral votes, could be won by either candidate this year.
North Carolina hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976 and its status as a battleground state was unexpected earlier this year. But now, public polls and an avalanche of Democratic voter registrations indicate North Carolina is no longer a safe Republican state.
North Carolina has changed along with the million residents who have moved into the state since 2000. Since Jan. 1, new voter registrations in North Carolina have favored Democrats nearly 4-to-1.
McCain's campaign says it remains confident that the GOP will win North Carolina in the end. His supporters focus on the Republican's credentials as a commander in chief in a state with several major military bases.
But an Elon University poll of North Carolina residents found that twice as many people blamed Republicans for the poor economy than Democrats.
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