Early Voting turn-out in NC-5 (some 11 counties, including Watauga):
Total Vote: 32,154
Democrats: 14,557 (45.27%)
Republicans: 13,327 (41.45%)
Unaffiliated: 4,270 (13.28%)
What makes these numbers quite astounding is the low performance by Republicans, who account for well over half of the registered voters in the district. Well over. Assuming that the Unaffiliated vote will swing 60% (at least) for Democrat Roger Sharpe, Virginia Foxx should be VERY worried.
Early Voting turn-out in NC House Dist. 93 (Ashe & Watauga):
Total Vote: 7,684
Democrats: 3,621 (47.12%)
Republicans: 2,729 (35.52%)
Unaffiliated: 1,334 (17.36%)
This is the Gene Wilson/Cullie Tarleton rematch, and these figures are even more astounding. Note the improving percentage of Ds v. Rs, for one thing, and the improved numbers of Unaffiliated, always a good thing when you're trying to unseat an incumbent.
Early Voting turn-out in NC Senate Dist. 45 (Ashe, Watauga, Wilkes, & Alexander):
Total Vote: 13,139
Democrats: 5,961 (45.37%)
Republicans: 5,221 (39.74%)
Unaffiliated: 1,957 (14.89%)
This is the Rev. Steve Goss/David Blust match-up for the John Garwood seat in the State Senate.
Early Voting turn-out in Watauga County alone:
Total Vote: 5,416
Democrats: 2,481 (46%)
Republicans: 1,920 (35%)
Unaffiliated: 1,015 (19%)
Republicans are underperforming more noticeably in Watauga County, when considered in isolation, than in any of the above groupings.
This does not mean, naturally, that the Democrats have won anything YET. Massive turn-out today of registered Republicans could still overwhelm us, especially as all of the NC-5 is heavily Republican ... so heavily Republican that none of the races discussed above -- neither the Sharpe/Foxx, the Tarleton/Wilson, nor the Goss/Blust race -- have EVER been on anyone's radar screen as "swing" races.
Clearly, from party performance in early voting, Foxx, Wilson, and Blust are all in deep doo-doo.
We say that with some confidence because it would at this point take more than merely "okay" Republican turn-out on this rainy, rainy day for these Republican candidates to overtake the trends in these early voting figures. For example, if we assumed a total turn-out in Watauga County of 16,000 voters, including those voting early and today, by our calculation the Republicans would have to dominate at least 53% of the vote today ... a tall order considering that Republicans account for only 40% of the total registered voters in Watauga and with the Unaffiliated coming out in such strong numbers.
It's still HOURS before we'll know. Maybe the Republican machine threw a piston today, and maybe it didn't. But at the moment, we have a good feeling about this, which we'll savor until it doesn't feel good any more.