CHAPEL HILL – Shortly after Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt was easily re-elected to his third term last Tuesday, he received a surprise phone call of congratulations from the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden.
“I just picked it up and said hello, and I was greeted with a ‘Hello, this is Joe Biden,” said Kleinschmidt, a Democrat.
After leaving an election party, he received a call from an unknown number and thankfully answered it rather than letting it go to voice mail.
“I’ve participated in several campaigns over the years and never received a call like that one,” Kleinschmidt said.
Biden, considered likely to run in the 2016 presidential election, made several calls that evening to Democratic municipal election winners in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first caucus, and the battleground states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to USA Today.
“We have a particularly well-tuned-in White House that understands that change is made by fostering and nurturing connections between all levels of government,” Kleinschmidt said.
The Vice President has pledged support for U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan as she seeks a second six-year term in 2014. North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is one of several Republicans running for their party’s nomination to challenge her.
Kleinshmidt is among those who support Hagan.
“I told him [Biden] how excited I was to participate in the next election here in North Carolina next year and [for me to help] Senator Hagan get re-elected. He was glad to hear that.”
Republicans hold a super majority in the North Carolina House, Senate and Governor’s Mansion. Many local elected officials here in Orange County have voiced their opposition to legislation enacted by the General Assembly this past legislative term. Kleinschmidt said Biden offered praise for the progressivism that’s come to be attributed to this community.
“He responded by thanking [us] for the work we have been doing and acknowledging that places like Chapel Hill are where progress is being made in our country, and he was grateful that we were continuing to be committed to it.”
As far as offering endorsements for potential presidential nominees in the 2016 election, Kleinschmidt said he was inclined to support Hillary Clinton, though he said it was still early in the process.