Why all this attention? Because Watauga has been designated one of 50 bellwether counties in the whole nation. One reason for that: We're one of only four counties in the state with more unaffiliated voters than both Republicans and Democrats.
The unaffiliated vote is way up in early voting in North Carolina, and on that -- and perhaps that alone -- hinges the outcome. In Watauga alone, the unaffiliated vote outpaced both Republicans and Democrats:
Watauga Unaffiliated voters who voted early 7,683Those astounding numbers make Watauga almost completely unique in North Carolina. In only one other county -- Transylvania -- have the unaffiliated outvoted both national parties in early voting. (Sorry, Transylvania, but despite that you're not considered a bellwether.)
Watauga Democratic voters who voted early 6,603
Watauga Republican voters who voted early 6,215
What does it all mean? We'll find out tomorrow night, but in the meantime we have our strong suspicions.