Why was North Carolina a bright spot in an otherwise dark day for Republicans nationally?
Were my Republican consultant friends – Carter, Luther Snyder, Tom Fetzer, Paul Shumaker and Jack Hawke – that much smarter than their colleagues across the country?
Or was it just a weird confluence of circumstances: a governor’s race that was virtually uncontested and Republican control of maps and money?
The answer is probably: both.
Carter & Co. certainly understand that North Carolina is a closely divided state, maybe the closest in the country. It certainly was in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.
Except for the governor’s race, the winner in most every statewide race got about 53-54 percent – Republicans and Democrats.
And the total votes cast in legislative and congressional races split about evenly statewide.
But the map-and-money edge gave Republicans two (maybe three) congressional seats and about 70 percent of the legislative seats.
Clearly, Democrats have a steep hill to climb. But there is hope. Look at it this way: If the voters are split 50-50 and one party has 70 percent of the legislative seats, what are the odds that that party will do something (or many somethings) to alienate a majority?