{mosimage}For months now, North Carolina candidates, consultants, activists, political analysts and journalists have seen -and to some extent helped to create - a kind of political blur. On Tuesday, North Carolina voters brought several facts into crystal clarity.

First, the state’s Democratic electorate saw the candidates, watched the national news coverage, and heard the advertisements. In the end, it didn’t matter much. Demographic fundamentals among North Carolina Democrats generated a solid victory for Barack Obama, just as the basic demographics gave Hillary Clinton a win in Indiana, though a far less impressive one. Given the size of the African-American turnout, the math proved impossible for the Clinton campaign.

Second, Richard Moore ran about as good a race as anyone could have, but this was not the year for Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue to be denied the Democratic nomination for governor. The Obama-Clinton race created a turnout disparity that, again, made it nigh on impossible mathematically for Moore to assemble a majority. While Moore overplayed his attack ads towards the end, he did make the race competitive for a time by challenging Perdue on various issues.

As for Moore, I suspect that the 2010 race for the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Richard Burr will begin shortly.

Third, being from Charlotte is not a liability in Republican politics. Let me repeat just once more, in case a few folks way out east or west haven’t gotten the news yet: Charlotte politicians start out with an advantage, not a disadvantage, when it comes to winning statewide GOP primaries. Being on television and radio for years means that you’re well-known not just in Mecklenburg but in Iredell, Cabarrus, Union, Rowan, Catawba, Gaston and other counties where lots of Republicans live. This helped state Sen. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte cruise to an easy nomination for lieutenant governor. And in the most suspenseful race of the state election cycle, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory turned back a last-minute Fred Smith surge to win the gubernatorial primary outright. He performed well outside of his base region, particularly in the Triad (he grew up in Guilford County), but he blew past the 40 percent mark and clinched the nomination because he was from Charlotte and won massive majorities in those aforementioned counties.

Now comes the general election, where in recent times Republicans do best when they nominate gubernatorial candidates from Mecklenburg (I’m referring to the two Jim Martin victories and the next-best GOP showing, Richard Vinroot’s 2000 campaign). Have I made my point yet? Sorry, it’s a pet peeve.

Fourth, I was right to doubt the likelihood of lots of runoffs. There won’t be many. Janet Cowell easily won the Democratic nomination for state treasurer. Walter Dalton escaped the need to beat would-be National Guard commander Hampton Dellinger in a second primary for lieutenant governor. There will be a vote in the Democratic primary for labor commissioner again in June. There will also be a few legislative and local runoffs. Everyone else can hit the beach (or mountains, if you share my preference).

Finally, despite a massive turnout to nominate the most liberal senator in Washington as the next Democratic candidate for president, North Carolina voters didn’t suddenly lose their fiscal conservatism. Out of 24 county votes to authorize higher sales or real-estate taxes, the local-government lobby won only two votes: sales-tax hikes in Haywood and Cumberland, the latter by a fairly close margin. It wasn’t just small, rural counties saying no to higher taxes. Major counties such as Guilford, Nash, Gaston, Randolph, Orange, and Onslow rejected their tax proposals, usually by overwhelming margins. Here’s a prediction: county commissioners across the state are going to start seeing those local tax votes the way Charlie Brown should have seen Lucy’s football č as a tantalizing prize that will be yanked away at the end.

Next time, the political class won’t make the mistake of asking North Carolina voters whether they think their local taxes are too low. The question is not yielding the intended answer, so it will be rewritten or dispensed with altogether.

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