Let me just start out by saying North Carolina is a swing state, and it's here to stay. Some people in the beltway punditry still can't wrap their heads around that. Every legitimate or respectable polling firm (i.e. non-Rasmussen and Ras like) have shown North Carolina as a razor thin race. Either Obama is up 1-3 points, Romney is up 1-3, or in some cases a tie. No can predict exactly who's going to win, cause it's that close. But if Dems didn't think they could win this state, then they wouldn't be having their convention in Charlotte. All that being said this what I think is going to happen in North Carolina in the next four years.
'12 Gubernatorial Race: Walter Dalton v. Pat McCrory
Because Bev Perdue isn't at all popular, the Governor race looks like it's leaning towards a Republican take over, giving the GOP a trifecta in Raleigh for the first time in the history of that state. I think Dalton is going to run a spirited race, but it's McCrory's to lose. Dispite the GOP controlled Assembly being very unpopular among North Carolinians. Pat McCrory may be popular right now, and looks like the betting favorite. He won't be at all once he's sworn in, he'll be a rubber stamp for every right wing bill that is passes out those chambers. The General Assembly approval rating will be more unpopular, McCrory's numbers will start tanking like a stone. And I bet you people in North Carolina are gonna wish they had Dalton, or even Perdue as their Governor.
'14 Senatorial Race: Kay Hagan v. TBD
Kay Hagan will reap the benefits of this. Kin to like what Bill Nelson, and Sherrod Brown are benefiting from thanks to those very unpopular GOP Governors that were elected in that midterm elections in 2010. Lots of close races we still look back on wishing that we had won. In my opinion I don't think Hagan is going to be vulnerable. North Carolina is a "New South" state and it's demographically becoming diverse by the minute.
I don't know who here opponent going to be, whether it's from the state's congressional delegation, or the state assembly. Which ever one she'll have an easy time highlighting her opponent voting record and stances. NC Republicans in Raleigh and Washington have voted on very extreme legislation. Plus you have the Republican electorate becoming even more conservative, rejecting any Republican who has a stench of "establishment" on him or her. We saw it last cycle in Colorado, Nevada, and Delaware. This year in Indiana, just this week in Texas, and likely Wisconsin being next. You could only imagine how '14 is going to be. No Republican incumbent is safe!
'16 Gubernatorial Race: Pat McCrory v. Roy Cooper
By this time McCrory is going to be up for reelection, and likely will be the heavy underdog. Democrats strongest choice will be the state's Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper. He has been the AG since being elected in 2000, and will win another term, since no Republican wanted to take him on he's running unopposed. Cooper was smart enough not to run, probably foreseeing that McCrory will be much easier to beat in '16 compared to this year. McCrory is going to be like a wounded dog, and even if he do retire instead, whoever the Republican is they're going to be trounced. Hopefully it is McCrory, cause I do want to see Cooper mop up the floor with him throughout the state.
'16 Senatorial Race: Richard Burr v. Janet Cowell
Burr won't be fortunate like he was in '10, when he's going to share the ticket with a unpopular incumbent Governor and/or the GOP nominee. It looks like NC Dems will hold most of the statewide offices this year. Janet Cowell the state treasurer will most likely be the one the DSCC tries to recruit. It looks like she the betting favorite to win reelection. By this time she'll already have won two statewide races under her name, and will have name recognition. By November of that year it will grow even more. Shall she be the nominee, she'll be help by the coattails of Roy Cooper, and the fact that it's a presidential year so turn out will be much higher.