Commentary: A fresh, fractious era for N.C. Democrats

For most of North Carolina's history, there was no chance that a man named Barack or a woman named Beverly would finish atop the heap on election day.

But in casting their ballots for Sen. Barack Obama for president and Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue for governor, Tar Heel Democrats wrote a new chapter in the state's history that had been clouded by the era of Jim Crow and a deep skepticism about women's role in politics.

The victory of a black presidential candidate won the headlines. But the most sweeping change may have been the victories of women up and down the ballot -- with, of course, one notable exception: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not only did Perdue win the Democratic nomination for governor, but state Sen. Kay Hagan won her party's nod as the U.S Senate nominee who will face Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole in November.

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