State catches nation’s eye for new leadership in 2009

North Carolina’s election provided a good evening of drama as a new cast for the upper echelons of state government was decided — often by squeakers — and the state stood out as one of the nation’s “undecideds” in the national coverage of the presidential election.

The new N.C. governor-elect, Bev Perdue (D), also made national news as the first woman elected to that office. And U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) — another hot news item — was sent home in a surprise defeat to Kay Hagan (D), a former state senator who is now packing for the Washington big league.

The state of North Carolina itself, on Wednesday, remained in the “undecided” category in the presidential race because, as reported in The News and Observer of Raleigh, some 40,000 provisional ballots (cast by voters whose eligibility to vote is not yet confirmed) had yet to be counted. Awaiting that tally, Sen. Barack Obama‘s unofficial total was 12,106 votes higher than Sen. John McCain‘s. Some 65 percent of the provisional ballots are anticipated to be eligible, and N.C. Board of Elections Director Gary Bartlett noted that such ballots generally trend in numbers similar to the election-day counts.

A little further down the state rung, WNC’s own Walter Dalton (D) of will be the new lieutenant governor. Dalton, a six-term state senator from Rutherford County, is currently serving as co-chair of the Appropriations Committee. Additionally, the Council of State was filled out with some new, some old, and mostly Democratic faces.

Roy Cooper (D) returns for a third term as attorney general (after his own time in the national news during the Duke lacrosse-team case), receiving the highest number of votes for any statewide Democrat, as noted in another News and Observer report.

Garnering the second highest number of votes was three-termer Elaine Marshall (D), secretary of state. Other Council winners in the unoffical totals were Janet Cowell (D), treasurer; June Atkinson (D), superintendent of public instruction; Beth Wood (D), auditor; Wayne Goodwin (D), insurance commissioner; Steve Troxler (R), commissioner of agriculture; Cherie Berry (R), commissioner of labor.

Nelda Holder, associate editor



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