Gary Pearce wrote some wise analysis of those renegades this morning:
Barefoot and Hunt might look safe politically. They have good districts. They have a big money advantage.
But, to keep winning, they have to win moderate Independents. The kind of voters who don’t like partisanship. The kind of voters who might see the legislature as a bunch of rural Tea Party extremists who hate cities in general and Raleigh in particular. The kind of voters who see Republicans nationally as a gang of vengeful, angry old white men.
Barefoot and Hunt have to worry that a future opponent might figure out that there are a lot of well-heeled people in Raleigh who are mad enough to give big money to a Democrat – or to a super-PAC helping Democrats.
They also have to worry that, in 2014, President Obama’s OFA might pump a lot of money into North Carolina. Or that, in 2016, Hillary Clinton might set off a Democratic tidal wave among moderate Independent women in their districts.
Hunt and Barefoot have no control over a lot of that. They could control how they voted. So they voted with Raleigh and against their fellow Republicans.