GREENSBORO, N.C. — We are nine months away from the 2024 Republican Primary and 17 months from the presidential election.
Even with all that time ahead of us, three Republican candidates will be in town, speaking at the State GOP Convention in Greensboro.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Former Vice President Mike Pence, and former President Donald Trump are all scheduled to speak, at the Koury Convention Center, over the next two days.
Local political experts say North Carolina will play a critical role in next year's election.
Professor Thom Little with UNCG says it will be tough for Republicans to win Michigan and Pennsylvania.
That leaves a handful of states that he says could decide which party wins the White House, including North Carolina.
"Wisconsin maybe is in place, but Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina to me, or the three that may decide the presidency. If they can't win those three, I don't know that there's a path," Little said.
Denise Nation, Political Science Professor at Winston-Salem State University, says politicians can not bank on North Carolina.
"Democrats can not bank on North Carolina Republicans can not bank on North Carolina. North Carolina is particularly important because of the diversity of the state," Nation said.
Both experts say there is a long road to the 2024 presidential election.
They also say you can expect to see candidates from both parties frequent North Carolina over the next 17 months.
The State GOP Convention will run through Sunday at the Koury Convention Center.
The event is not open to the public.