Top Democrats greet Hillary Clinton in Raleigh

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Democratic Party of Arkansas Jefferson Jackson dinner in North Little Rock, Ark., Saturday, July 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appeared in Raleigh on Wednesday, speaking to a group of supporters that included some of the state’s top Democrats.

Former Gov. Jim Hunt, former Gov. Bev Perdue and former Sen. Kay Hagan were among those at the event.

Jim Hunt arrives for Hillary Clinton event

This is Clinton’s first trip to North Carolina since announcing she will run for president.

“This seems to be, come in, rake in some money and leave, where she could do some things, even on a short visit, to make herself more well-known to people who don’t know her all that well,” said Meredith College professor David McLennan.

“At some point, she’s got to come back to North Carolina and meet the masses, so to speak. This just seems, given what’s going on on the Republican side with a lot of bickering between [Donald] Trump and other candidates, an opportunity for her to come in and be kind of a gracious candidate.”

But Bruce Thompson, a Raleigh attorney who is attending the event and a member of Clinton’s national finance committee, said focusing on raising money for the primary is critical for Clinton.

“If you look at the 16 candidates on the Republican side and the three or four candidates on the Democratic side, they all have to raise money,” Thompson said. “They all have to do fundraisers. They all do events like this. And I often think she gets unfairly criticized for doing that.”

Thompson said those attending Wednesday wanted to hear Clinton’s views on the North Carolina’s role in the general election.

As for having a more public appearance, Thompson said, “Today is a fundraiser in Raleigh. But I’m sure the next time she’s here, she’s going to be doing a lot of retail campaigning. She did a lot of that in 2008. She really reached out directly to voters in the Democratic primary. You’re going to see her doing that again.”

The visit comes in the midst of a political firestorm between other presidential candidates.

Clinton has traded words with several of the presidential candidates, including Republican candidate Donald Trump.

During her first national television interview with CNN , Clinton slammed Trump after he called many Mexicans rapists and criminals.

“I’m very disappointed in those comments,” Clinton said. “I feel very bad and disappointed with him.”

Clinton said Trump’s view on immigration was the same for most of the GOP.

“They are all in the same general area on immigration range across a spectrum: welcome or hostile,” Clinton said.

Those comments did not sit well with Republicans, including Jeb Bush, who said Clinton would say anything to get elected.

Wednesday’s event is closed to the public. Tickets to the event are $2,700 a piece, which is the maximum allowed during a primary campaign.

Clinton ran for president in 2008 but lost to Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic nomination. Obama carried North Carolina decisively.

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