Election day is still nearly five months away, but with the campaigning already in high gear, we wanted to know what we can expect here in North Carolina. While Democrats have long been in control at the state level, North Carolina has not gone Democrat in a presidential race since Jimmy Carter in 1976. And while John McCain leads in several recent polls of North Carolina voters, political consultant Susan Bulluck says the Tar Heel state could be a battleground state depending on how Barack Obama and his camp decide to manage his campaign. "Barack is attempting to do something that hasn't been done, and that's to look at swing states to pick up electoral votes," said Bulluck. Doing things differently seems to be a major theme in this election. Bulluck says the way candidates are now using the internet to activate voters is a work in progress. "We really have not seen what that can bring in terms of turnout," said Bulluck. Obama may have signaled how important North Carolina is to his chances of winning last week. That's when he kicked off his first campaign swing since locking up the Democratic nomination with a stop in Raleigh. But if the past is predictor, the election night map may see Carolina red instead of blue. Bulluck said, "I think it's possible for McCain to win North Carolina if history plays a part in this." Whoever wins the state's 15 electoral votes, Bulluck says the economy, including the surging price of gas, will play a huge role. She also says to pay attention to how foreign affairs issues like Iraq and Afghanistan continue to play out. Just a couple of factors adding up to what Bulluck says will be an interesting campaign season. "We're building up to an election that we've never seen before," said Bulluck. In the coming days, we'll be hearing more from Susan Bulluck on the presidential campaign, as well as on other national, state and local races this election year.
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