Local Politics

Tar Heels can make history in election

Posted November 4, 2008

— North Carolina – a Southern state that has cast its electoral votes with Republicans for more than a generation – is the surprise swing state of the 2008 presidential election.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama believes: "If we take North Carolina, we'll take the election."

Pundits and the pollsters agree, and they believe the Illinois senator has a chance to win a state that hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Recent polls show the race too close to call. But at the very least, Obama has forced Republican presidential nominee John McCain to defend a state that President Bush won by 12 percentage points four years ago.

McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, his running mate, have made seven visits to the state in the waning weeks of the campaign, hoping to bolster Republican support.

No matter the outcome, the next presidential administration will be a first. If McCain wins, Palin would be the first woman to hold the vice presidency. Obama's history-making campaign could culminate in the first African-American presidency.

Voters lined up before sunrise Tuesday to cast their ballots, despite gloomy weather across much of the state.

National Weather Service forecasters expected rain in the eastern two-thirds of the state, falling heavy along the coast between Wilmington and Cape Hatteras. Temperatures were forecast in the 50s and 60s.

The weather was not expected to be severe, but will make it “unpleasant,” WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

“It’s not the type of adverse weather to prevent you from doing your civic duty,” he said.

North Carolina, with its 15 electoral votes, was targeted by Obama from the first day of the general election campaign. He opened dozens of campaign offices and spent millions on TV ads, at one point outspending McCain 8-to-1 on commercials. His aggressive get-out-the-vote effort is credited with helping drive a record 2.6 million people to the polls during the state's early voting period.

Officials estimate another 2 million will cast their ballots Tuesday, in part because of high interested in three heated races: president, governor and U.S. Senate.

Beyond the presidential election, Democrats hope state Sen. Kay Hagan of Greensboro can oust incumbent GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole as part of a Democratic wave that could lead to a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate. After voting Tuesday in her hometown of Salisbury, Dole didn't miss the chance to take a final shot at Hagan as their costly and often nasty race comes to its end.

"I hope people will vote to re-elect me," Dole said. "I have the experience and my positions are clear on the issues. It's difficult to get my opponent to state her position on the issues."

A victory for Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue over Republican Pat McCrory, the popular Charlotte mayor, would put a woman in the state's top job for the first time.

"I do feel like the people of North Carolina are looking for the best leader to steer this state through these challenging economic times," Perdue said Monday at a campaign stop. "And I believe folks understand I'm that leader."

For McCrory, a victory would be historic, too. His party has held the governor's office for just 12 of the past 107 years.

"We have got passion behind our candidacy because I'm convinced that people want to change the culture of state government throughout North Carolina," McCrory said Monday.

The huge success of early voting – more than twice as many people cast early ballots this year than in 2004 – led the state to scale back its Election Day turnout prediction to about 2 million. Still, the estimate of about 4.6 million voters overall would be 74 percent of those registered – far higher than the 64 percent four years ago.

"We hope today is as uneventful as an election can be," said state Board of Elections director Gary Bartlett. ... Once you get everybody open, it's pretty much routine."

"I would say the biggest concern was the issue of moving people through the line."

Besides president, U.S. Senate and governor, voters will choose a new lieutenant governor to succeed Perdue, an attorney general and seven other members of the Council of State.

All 13 members of Congress face challengers. Among them, Democrat Larry Kissell again faces GOP Rep. Robin Hayes in the 8th District. Kissell – a high school teacher from Biscoe – lost by just 329 votes in 2006.

New faces for insurance commissioner and state treasurer are assured, as Jim Long decided to step down after 24 years and Treasurer Richard Moore unsuccessfully ran for governor. All 170 seats in the General Assembly are up for two-year terms. One seat on the Supreme Court and six on the Court of Appeals also will be filled, along with hundreds of local seats.

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  • gunny462 Nov 11, 2008

    "Gunny - spare me your condiscending remarks. I use semperfialways as my name because BOTH my husband & myself have PROUDLY served in the Marines & yes that includes in Iraq & he is soon to retire so please do not assume just because we voted for a Democrat that you know what we stand for. You must realize there are MANY, MANY veterans & active duty (not just in the Marines) who are Democrats. Uncalled for remarks
    SemperFiAlways"

    LOL OMG, so instead of saying, "yes, gunny you did not try to tell me how to vote, nor that 25% of milbud will be cut" you're sensitive about your name? Bubble Bubble Bubble

  • gunny462 Nov 11, 2008

    "Why do insist on comparing the way Obama has been attacked by the Mccain campaign with groundless, divisive allegations of communism and secret terrorism to Palin's actual abuse of power, her actual misuse of public funds.Thinkb4uspeak""

    Eeet, you lose, cuz you evidently only listened to CNN. Groundless? LOL OMG you're definitely in a bubble.

    "Republican's hypocritical contracdiction of their own values (I'm referring her daughter's illegitimate child), her countless demonstrations of incompetence( as it relates to the VP position)Thinkb4uspeak""

    EEEET AND the buzzer sounds AGAIN. Her statements about the VP position were in FACT factual. Biden's staements were NOT. She has more experince in economics than Obama has AND more knowledge about fuels. And bringing UP her daughter just shows how LOW Obama's ppl went to discredit Palin AND ATTACKED her family.

  • news4u Nov 4, 2008

    Mercy - At the least let us have McCrory!!!

  • lorivalentine1 Nov 4, 2008

    What I find truly sad and really disturbing is all the comments stating black people are voting for Obama because of his color.. and voting for McCain because Palin is a woman. How ignorant must you be to really do that.. and yet I think that is exactly what happened here. I am disgusted to live here right now. It it a right to vote, why would any one squander that vote because of skin color or gender. The entire country has to live with the vote of the country. I am not sure how much worse it can get after what Bush has done.. but there is still room to go down some more.. Hope any one who voted not because of what the candidate's policies are but because of color or gender can live with the choices they made..

  • manofjustice Nov 4, 2008

    People why argue...Obama has victoriously won so why don't we all just hug one another and celebrate. I will even have beer tonight at the KKK house. So whadda ya say peeps? Let's be friends :)

  • SemperFi... Always Nov 4, 2008

    SemperFi: Did you go to one of those universities Obama attended? JaredsMom

    Actually, no, I attended the University of Iowa. Your point? I'm curious what university you attended since that must mean something? And, I do wish I'd attended Harvard Law as Obama did. In case you didn't know, it's a rather prestigious school...

  • SemperFi... Always Nov 4, 2008

    Barack doesn't know his behind from his elbow unless a teleprompter tells him. JaredsMom

    Yet another mindless comment that means absolutely nothing.

  • SemperFi... Always Nov 4, 2008

    Whats REAL funny is how you use SemperFiAlways for your 'name' but vote in a guy WHO IS going to cut military spending by 25%. Good bye to armor, beans and equipment upkeep. Also say good bye to 'any' friends you thought you had in the corp as the death count WILL rise after he steals office. Say good bye to tricare and the 4 years of budgeting for remodeling and renovation of any Base hospitals , barracks and housing units. Say good bye to the Base closest to you as the Pentagon is forced to BRAC more Bases due to a lower budget.
    "SemperNonfidalis"
    "Above all" gunny462

    Gunny - spare me your condiscending remarks. I use semperfialways as my name because BOTH my husband & myself have PROUDLY served in the Marines & yes that includes in Iraq & he is soon to retire so please do not assume just because we voted for a Democrat that you know what we stand for. You must realize there are MANY, MANY veterans & active duty (not just in the Marines) who are Democrats. Uncalled for remarks

  • RevD Nov 4, 2008

    Lizard, I am the common man and many more are the common man too. I am not going to allow any system to straight up destroy me or any other American citizen I put my life on the line before and will gladly do it again, (even at my advanced age) against any enemy, foreign or domestic. You are inferring that the Democratic party is evil. Let me say that no party has a lock on righteousness, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of GOd. There is good and evil and honorable things about each of the parties, but at this time, for me, the preponderance of evidence is against the Republican party. They started a war based on a lie, and over 4,000 of our precious sons and daughters are now sleeping in their graves. The economy is in shambles because of deregulation promulgated from the Republicans and the White House. There has been a constant stream of fear, blame and negativity and divisiveness that has has marked the current presidential campaign. It is time for a change.

  • peakofgoodliving Nov 4, 2008

    The media is so excited that their candidate is about to win in a landslide they can't hardly contain themselves!!

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