Today, two prominent North Carolina Democrats abandoned their re-election bids, both facing strong possibilities of defeat at the hands of Republicans, raising doubts about the ability of Democrats to repeat their surprise win of the state in the 2008 Presidential contest.
Democratic Governor Beverly Purdue, long trailing GOP challenger Pat McCrory, a former Mayor of Charlotte, in polls, announced that she would not seek a second term. Democratic Congressman Brad Miller also announced he would not seek another term, after being forced to choose between almost-certain defeat at the hands of GOP challengers in his old district or by an incumbent Democrat in another.
These signs of trouble for Democrats in North Carolina as they fight Republicans - and each other - in several high-profile contests which follow the surprise 2010 takeover of the North Carolina General Assembly by the GOP.
Miller's story is a rather interesting study in payback. In the 2001 redistricting, Miller had chaired the NC Senate's redistricting efforts, drawing the state's new 13th district, which he was elected to. The same process eliminated the Senate seat held by Republican Bob Rucho of Charlotte, who later returned to the Senate and led this round of redistricting efforts.
For the record, Rucho denies payback was a motive in the Congressional maps.
The Rucho plan radically redrew Miller's District, centered in the Raleigh-Durham region, flipping it from a safe Democratic seat to a Republican district, while moving Miller into the nearby 4th District, a heavily-Democratic seat currently held by Rep. David Price, who is planning to seek re-election.
The prospect of a Miller-Price primary battle was showing signs of splitting Democratic ranks early, with the Daily Kos giving Miller an early endorsement over Price, even though Price released a poll showing him with a heavy edge for re-election over Miller.
But it's not the only bad news facing North Carolina Democrats. Congressional redistricting may cost three other Democrats, all of whom ran close re-election races last year, their seats: Larry Kissell, Mike McIntyre, and Heath Shuler.
Not only that, but President Obama's chances of winning North Carolina are looking quite dismal.
With such news, it's seeming increasingly likely that the decision by Democrats to hold their 2012 convention in Charlotte will do little to avoid a bloodbath for North Carolina Democrats in a state which is considered a top priority for Obama's re-election. It's a stunning turn of fortune for North Carolina Democrats, whose tight grip over the state had long resisted the GOP tide which has been sweeping the South.