High up in the large convention room in the Westin, a massive flock of rich bankers, tall blondes and Young Republicans dressed in bow-ties gathered to watch the election results at Pat McCrory's Victory Party.
Unlike the scene four years ago, when McCrory fell short of Democrat Beverly Perdue in the gubernatorial race, this time the room of whitewashed elites had something to celebrate. As the early returns came in, former Charlotte Mayor McCrory had amassed a double digit lead over his Democratic opponent Walter Dalton. And at 8:29 p.m. it was announced to the hundreds in attendance that the race had been called for McCrory, with him leading 54 percent to 43 percent.
That is bad news for N.C. progressives who now face a difficult road ahead fighting a rearguard action in Raleigh for public education, voting rights and the protection of the environment.
In the Congressional races it has so far been an equally good night for Republicans, with Democrats like Larry Kissell, Hayden Rogers and Patsy Keever appearing headed for defeat. After Republicans redrew the district maps, Democrats were behind the eight ball and apparently weren't able to recover.
Locally, Jennifer Roberts seems to have fallen short in her bid against the Republican Robert Pittenger to replace the retiring Sue Myrick in the 9th district. With over 230,000 votes counted, she was down 46 percent to 51 percent.
The lone Democrat holding his own in a competitive district is Rep. Mike McIntyre in the eastern part of the state, who holds an early lead over his opponent David Rouzer.
Congressman Mel Watt is coasting to victory in the 12th Congressional district, which includes much of Charlotte, drawing over 80 percent of the vote. But few doubted he'd win.
With Republicans looking poised to hold onto the North Carolina's state Senate and House, this is an unprecedented evening for their party. Though the race for lieutenant governor is still too close to call, tonight's results have to be considered a monumental victory for Tar Heel conservative politics.
Republican candidates in the state raised more money. They had an advantage in super PAC support, and outside organizations like the Republican Governors Association and the National Republican Congressional Committee played major roles.
After Perdue's administration got off to a rocky start and her popularity hit bottom, Republicans seemed to smell blood in the water. They took back the state legislature in 2010 for the first time in over a century and tonight achieved a level of power in the state they've never had.
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