As Election Day approaches, presidential candidates aren’t the only ones with swing-state North Carolina on their minds.
On Wednesday, singer-songwriter James Taylor returned to his home town to thank Chapel Hill volunteers for their work on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Taylor, perhaps best known locally for his 1968 hit “Carolina In My Mind,” dropped by the Chapel Hill Organizing for America office on Franklin Street to thank a crowd of about 100 volunteers for their work on the Obama campaign.
The event was kept fairly quiet in the days leading up to it, but volunteers were nonetheless enthusiastic. An air of eagerness and hope presided over the evening.
“I was pretty excited when I got the e-mail saying, ‘Hey, you can come on down!’” said Laurie Blum, a 29-year-old phone bank captain.
The event lasted about half an hour from start to finish, with Taylor performing four songs, including “Carolina in My Mind” and folk standard “America the Beautiful.”
Volunteer coordinators spoke before and after his performance, encouraging volunteers to stay strong in the final days of the campaign.
Taylor’s wife Kim spoke briefly to the volunteers between two songs, praising them for doing “the work of angels” and speaking about her own experience as a campaign volunteer.
Team Captain Janet Hoy, who has worked for the Obama campaign since this spring, said she holds her fellow Orange County volunteers in high regard.
Taylor closed his set with “You Can Close Your Eyes,” and left the stage with his fist in the air, encouraging the volunteers to “fight on.” And with 26 days until the election left, fight is what the volunteers intend to do.
Cameron French, press secretary for Organizing for America, said the next steps for the campaign will be encouraging voter turnout.
“We’ve been building an organization for the last four years here in North Carolina,” he said.
“Now’s the opportunity for us to showcase all the great work of the volunteers that were here this evening and make sure we continue to knock on doors, make phone calls — really, get people out to the polls starting Oct. 18th for the early vote.”
In addition to an earlier stop in Wilmington, Taylor also performed a set to open the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last month.
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