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January 04, 2010



North Carolina is not a "contested" state. We have 8 Democrats out of 13 in the House, and we've never had fewer than 5 out of 12 or 6 out of 13. Once Jesse Helms got a lock on his seat, there was a long period in which Democrats and Republics traded the other. Whether Burr holds onto his seat next year depends a lot on Obama's standing, the economy, and whatever scandals are roiling the state Democrats.

As for the state level, we have a Democratic governor and the Democrats control both state houses. The Democrats have certainly traded control with the Republicans from time to time, but in a way that suggests the state's political allegiances are balanced, and probably always will be.

It's true that Obama was the first Democrat to win at the TOP of the ticket in 32 years, but to describe a southern state's political allegiances based on its presidential ballots would miss almost everything that is happening in that state.

There's a strain of economic populism that runs very deep in the south. Not to mention a lot of African-American voters who have yet to vote Republican in anything like real numbers.


Also, Alabama had 3 Democrats in the House until Griffith's switch, and he's the first Republican to hold that seat/district since ... wait, he's the first ever.


The damning fact for the good people of Alabama, of course, is that they never elected any Republicans ever until 1965. Gosh, I wonder what made them change their minds.

John Petty

Say, wasn't that about the time the civil rights bill passed?

Thanks for the report on North Carolina. I was reading James McPherson's civil war history recently, and he made note that North Carolina was a more moderate state than South Carolina, even then, and was a tad slow to join the confederacy.

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