Local Politics

Campaign season begins in earnest

Posted September 5, 2008 7:52 p.m. EDT
Updated September 5, 2008 9:30 p.m. EDT

— After much pomp and circumstance, the Democratic and Republican parties have selected their presidential nominees. Now, the real campaign begins.

"I know the public will say the presidential campaign has been going on for three years. Essentially, it begins today," Democratic consultant Morgan Jackson said Friday.

Barack Obama and John McCain each have about 60 days to convince voters nationwide that he is the right choice for president.

McCain holds a single-digit lead in most North Carolina polls, but Democrats maintain Obama has the money and the commitment to compete in the state.

North Carolina hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

"They're going to lose the presidential race. I'd go spend my money somewhere else," Republican consultant Ballard Everett said.

Jackson, on the other hand, said voters' concern with the struggling economy will overshadow the Republican optimism stirred by McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"I don't think she's going to exactly see eye-to-eye with folks, and I don't think folks will find her as interesting as they have," he said, noting that the Obama campaign out-fundraised the McCain ticket by a 10-to-1 margin after her fiery and sometime sarcastic speech at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night.

Everett said Palin's youth and conservative edge have revitalized the GOP ticket, and he expects North Carolina to once again vote Republican in November's presidential race.

"I'm hearing from all over the state people who are falling in love with Sarah Palin," he said.