Trump, Noem, U.S. Senate candidates speaking Saturday at NCGOP convention

President Donald Trump arrives to speaks at a campaign rally at Williams Arena in Greenville, N.C., Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

GREENVILLE – It will be a packed day in Greenville as the NCGOP convention hosts former President Donald Trump, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and five declared U.S. Senate candidates.

Not to mention, East Carolina University is hosting a college baseball regional and many Pitt County High Schools are holding graduation ceremonies as well.

Friday’s convention activity featured speakers such as State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who took up an issue he has raised repeatedly – the contracts the State Health Plan has with hospitals in the state.

“This is discrimination that is affecting the lower and fixed income people of this state,” Folwell said, making the case that as keeper of the public purse, he should have the information on what the plan pays.

Folwell also recounted his battle with COVID-19 last year, saying at one point he only had a 20% chance of survival.

Later Friday, NCGOP chairman Michael Whatley hosted The Old North State Dinner, featuring four fresh faces of the party: U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, state Sen. Deanna Ballard, and Charlotte city councilman Tariq Bokhari.

“An awesome day at the NCGOP convention. I am so honored to be the Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party and excited to launch our 2022 campaign to keep NC red,” said Whatley.

Saturday’s events begin with five U.S. Senate candidates speaking: Jen Banwart, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13), Brunswick County commissioner Marty Cooke, former Gov. Pat McCrory, and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker.

Four of the five candidates could be seen Friday with the delegates, hoping that the early face time will pay off in the 2022 primary. McCrory was not seen at the convention on Friday.

The NCGOP also announced that a straw poll will be taken on Saturday, giving the candidates an indication of how they measure up among party activists. As of Friday’s credentials report, over 1,300 delegates registered for the convention in addition to other guests.

South Dakota Gov. Noem will headline the Congressional Lunch at 12 p.m. and former President Trump is set to speak at 7 p.m.

Trump, who won the state in both 2016 and 2020’s presidential elections, hasn’t spoken at a public event outside of Florida since leaving the White House in January. He earlier spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February.

“President Trump delivered real results for North Carolina by rebuilding the military, standing strong against China, and unleashing the American economy. We are honored to welcome President Trump to our convention,” said Whatley.