Scripps News' Midnight Van to Georgia stops in N.C. to hear from voters ahead of presidential debate

The Scripps News political team made a second stop on their road trip to Atlanta for Thursday's debate, speaking with voters in North Carolina about how they feel ahead of the November election.
Graphic for Scripps News' "The Midnight Van To Georgia: The Road To The Presidential Debate."
A map shows Scripps News' route on "The Midnight Van to Georgia" for the presidential debate.
Posted at 12:55 PM, Jun 26, 2024

The Scripps News political team’s Midnight Van to Georgia road trip rolled into the second battleground state Tuesday en route to Thursday’s presidential debate in Atlanta.

Scripps News political director Andrew Rafferty, deputy political director Joe St. George and White House correspondent Serena Marshall scoped out North Carolina, locating one of the closest races in recent presidential election years.

The team sat down for a lunch break at Neighborhood Cafe in Huntersville — about 20 minutes outside Charlotte — to continue unveiling the genuine concerns voters have ahead of the November presidential election.

For a trio of book club members we spoke to, it’s the fear factor that's making them view both candidates as undesirable.

“What specifically scares you?” Rafferty asked.

“Trump, just to be blunt about it. And Biden’s age,” one club member responded.

While the three try to keep politics out of their book club meetings, one issue they didn’t mince words about was their stance on reproductive rights. That issue was also driving the vote of Shelby Adams, who was sitting at a nearby table.

“The fact that there are men that can decide what to do with my body is asinine in 2024,” Adams said.

Related Story: Scripps News speaks with voters in Virginia ahead of Thursday's presidential debate

North Carolina’s abortion law is among the strictest in the country, outlawing the procedure at just over 12 weeks. But it's not just reproductive rights that are at the top of voters' minds.

Neighborhood Cafe general manager Kathy Diehl said while abortion matters, economic issues are the main reason she and her son are supporting Trump.

“Where are we now compared to where we were when [Trump] was in office?" Diehl said. “Figure that out.”

Unlike the menu at the Neighborhood Cafe, options for president are limited. Customers like Jany Scanlon, who said she voted for President Biden in the last election, isn’t so sure she will vote for him again.

“I wish somebody else was going to be on the ticket,” she said.

Scanlon admitted that she may not vote in this election because of her unsettledness with either candidate.

Checking in on Joe, Andrew and Serena from Nowhere Road, Georgia

Midnight Van to Georgia: Checking in with Serena, Andrew and Joe from Nowhere Road, Georgia

Scripps News will continue to talk to people in bellwether counties this week on their road trip to Atlanta for the presidential debate, stopping in places that can give major clues about who could win in November.

The debate begins Thursday at 9 p.m. ET and is expected to last 90 minutes. Scripps News will air CNN's simulcast of the debate live on air and online.

To find Scripps News on your TV or watch live online, click here.