A Democratic wave rolled through the rest of western North Carolina, stronger evidently than anywhere else in the state. Why the most traditionally Republican part of N.C. should have experienced a Democratic resurgence will take some careful unpacking over the next weeks and months, but there it is:
Ashe County ... not only participated in the election of new Democratic members of both the N.C. House and Senate (Tarleton & Goss) but also swept in all three of their County Commission candidates (Barber, Blackburn and Gambill), two new school board members, and James Williams as the new Democratic sheriff.
In the NC House, Democrats so far have picked up five seats, expanding our majority from 63-57 to 68-52. Two of those pickups were in the west ... Tarleton in the 93rd and Ray Warren in the 88th (Alexander County and part of Catawba County).
In the NC Senate, Democrats picked up two seats, expanding our majority from 29-21 to 31-19. Both of those pickups were in the west ... Goss in the 45th and Joe Sam Queen in the 47th (Avery, Haywood, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, and Yancey).
And, of course, Heath Shuler's victory over Charlie Taylor in the NC-11 was a big part of the general "blue tide."
We hear, incidentally, that though Sharpe lost to Foxx in NC-5, his campaign has emboldened others to think about challenging her. So a recruitment drive is already underway for a very strong candidate to run against the Madam in 2008. We can't say any names yet, for fear of unnecessarily spooking the barnyard fowl who are even now on their way home to roost.