Bloomberg, surrogates for Sanders, Biden come to North Carolina

Mike Bloomberg speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh.

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s primary elections are heating up with presidential candidates and their surrogates visiting as early in-person voting begins.

Registered voters or people who want to register now can cast ballots at locations in all 100 counties starting on Thursday through Feb. 29. Election offices already have been accepting traditional mail-in absentee ballots for weeks. People previously registered can also vote on primary day March 3.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg scheduled early-vote campaign events Thursday in Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Raleigh. Bloomberg’s campaign has more than 100 paid staff in North Carolina, with hopes of faring well in the Super Tuesday state.

At Bloomberg’s campaign stop in Raleigh, former governor Beverly Perdue endorsed Bloomberg and introduced him to the crowd of supporters.

New Hampshire Democratic primary winner Bernie Sanders planned rallies for Friday in Durham and Charlotte, but Sanders national campaign co-chair Nina Turner and actress Susan Sarandon scheduled “community meetings” in Charlotte and Winston-Salem on Thursday afternoon.

Joe Biden’s sister — Valerie Biden Owens — also planned to speak for her brother at early-voting kickoff events Thursday in Charlotte, Greensboro and Cary. The former vice president finished back in the pack in the New Hampshire primary. Bloomberg wasn’t on that state’s ballot.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.