Campaign 2012: Folks who KNOW clue us in on where things stand in NC

During the past few days I’ve had the chance to pick the brains of a few of the wise men — and women — (Read: political insiders) on both sides of the aisle about what things look like, right now, for the November races.

I found bipartisan agreement that McCrory and Romney are slam dunk winners with North Carolina voters.  Team Obama is still fighting for the state, but have given up hope on the scandal-plagued state Democrat Party and Lt. Governor Walter Dalton.

The Council of State is a little more up-in-the-air.  Fundraising difficulties have plagued GOP challengers for these seats.  Dan Forest, GOP nominee for Lt. Governor, appears to be the exception.  He has done well in the cash race — thanks in large part to the strong grassroots effort he led in the primary  and  assistance from allies of his mom, retiring congresswoman Sue Myrick.

Democrat incumbents took advantage of opportunities at the DNC in Charlotte.  Treasurer Janet Cowell co-hosted a swanky party at The Ritz-Carlton for Wall Street heavy-hitters.

GOP challengers in the Insurance, Secretary of State, Auditor and DPI superintendent races will rise or fall depending on the strength of the wins by McCrory and Romney.  Democrats — if they maintain a majority on the Council of State — could make things interesting for Governor McCrory as he tries to launch his policy initiatives.

Republicans look good to hold on to their majorities in the General Assembly.  The only question appears to be how big those majorities will be.  It will be interesting to see what happens in the leadership races in both chambers on Jones Street.  There is a lot of unhappiness among the grassroots — and in the House chamber — with Skip Stam and Thom Tillis. 

There was early talk about  NCGOP picking up FOUR Democrat-held US House seats in the state.  Right now, the only slam dunk for the GOP appears to be George Holding (“The Gentleman From First Citizens”) taking the 13th district seat held by Brad Miller.

GOP pros in DC are even admitting that Mike McIntyre looks good to hold on to his Seventh District seat — even though it was made more Republican and McIntyre’s home county was redistricted out.  Insiders familiar with the race in the Seventh say GOP state senator David Rouzer has run an uninspiring, bumbling campaign against McIntyre.  The Johnston County Republican’s fundraising has been anemic, while McIntyre is rolling in cash.   Rouzer’s campaign team is the same clique entrenched in NCGOP HQ that  also handled Renee Ellmers’ uninspiring May 2010 primary win.

Insiders on both sides of the aisle say Democrat Hayden Rogers appears to be surprisingly competitive in the race to succeed his boss Heath Shuler in the 11th District.  The GOP Establishment is working hard to rip Democrat Larry Kissell out of his Eighth District seat.  It’s too bad that the GOP nominee is Richard Hudson.  Hudson’s primary opponents are not exactly rallying to support him in November.  Polls show the race is close.  It’s tough to knock off an incumbent.  Kissell appears to be surprisingly competitive running in a more Republican-leaning district while being battered by the state and national GOP establishment.  Republicans still have a lot of work to do in both districts.  Neither the 8th nor the 11th are in slam dunk territory for the GOP. 

Insiders in both parties agree that both state party organizations will experience political bloodbaths following the election.  The Democrats have been roiled by a gay sexual harassment scandal.   The GOP crew in Raleigh has been battered by allegations of meddling in primaries, as well as the fallout from their chairman’s videotaped rant in Tampa.

In both HQs, heads will be rolling — after the election.