11/09/2011 10:54 am ET Updated Jan 09, 2012

Battleground North Carolina - Democrats Sweep Local Elections

The votes are in, and the ballots have been tabulated. It is now official. It's a Democratic landslide.

David Parker, Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, proclaimed victory: "All across the state, the voters in North Carolina's counties and municipalities rejected the Tea Party and its extremist views."

Voters repudiated the Tea Party agenda backed by North Carolina's notorious political boss, Art Pope. A billionaire and staunch ally of the Koch brothers, Art Pope is the local face of a multi-tentacled political machine. Working hand-in-glove as a dynamic duo of the political right, Pope is grooming his well-heeled acolyte, Pat McCrory, to run for governor in 2012. But, at the crucial hurdle, they stumbled.

Across this most politically embattled state in the nation, Democrats mobilized and routed Republicans. Parker zeroed in on McCrory's ignominious role in the Republican rout, "Pat McCrory's hand-picked candidates in Charlotte's City Council and Wake County's School Board race were soundly defeated in spite of his annoying robo-calls and the strenuous machinations of his well-oiled political machine."

Two years ago, Tea Party-backed Republican candidates won many local elections in North Carolina. Bankrolled by Boss Pope and rallied by 'Me-Too' McCrory, the Republican onslaught swept to a majority in Wake County's School Board elections. The Republican tide led to the return of Jim Crow Era policies of racial segregation under the guise of "neighborhood schools."

In 2010, Republicans continued their ominous sweep winning major victories in the US Senate race and control of the state legislature, while re-electing Senator Richard Burr, the arch-conservative acolyte of the late Jesse Helms. For the first time in more than a century, Republicans gained a majority of the North Carolina General Assembly.

The ensuing avalanche of reactionary Republican legislation was deliberately designed to turn the clock back to the bad old days of school segregation with hefty grants for Charter Schools. Under the banner of "fiscal conservatism" and the ideal of smaller government, Republicans backed the wholesale sacking of state employees. To ensure unfair elections and political inequality at the polls, Republicans brazenly attempted to legislate the suppression of black and minority voters via Voter ID bills. Governor Beverly Perdue's string of impressive vetoes of preposterous Tea Party legislation proved to be the only counterforce to the reactionary Republican cataract.

Art Pope and Pat McCrory masterminded the ultra-conservative Republican agenda, but they went too far, too fast. This year, North Carolina voters turned out to deliver a stunning backlash to the Pope-McCrory Machine in local elections all across the nation's tenth largest state.

The popular Democratic Mayor of Charlotte, Anthony Foxx, easily won re-election with a smashing two-to-one victory in the Queen City of the South. Mayor Foxx led an across-the-board Democratic sweep with massive pluralities in local elections in the state's largest county, Mecklenburg. Riding Mayor Foxx's strong coattails, Democrats swept all eight contested seats for Charlotte City Council. For Mayor Foxx, this was a timely tour de force. Next year, Mayor Foxx will be the primary host of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, a task that will elevate him to national prominence.

In Greensboro, progressives, Democrats and independent voters ousted the Pope-McCrory ticket of 'fiscal conservatives.' Robbie Perkins captured 56% of the vote and knocked out incumbent Mayor, Bill Knight, the city's ranking 'fiscal conservative.' Former Mayor Knight led the conservative bloc of candidates for City Council to resounding defeat.

But, the coup de grace took place in Boss Pope's backyard. Voters in Raleigh, North Carolina dealt Boss Pope, a major embarrassment in his hometown.

In the run-off for the controlling seat on the Wake County School Board, progressive Democrat Kevin Hill defeated Pope's Tea Party Republican candidate, Heather Losurdo. Hill stalwartly opposed the Pope-orchestrated re-segregation of Wake County Schools, while Losurdo supported the return to "neighborhood schools," a code for the end of cultural, racial and ethnic diversity.

Kevin Hill won his key race in a middle-class rural and suburban school district by garnering 52% of the vote against Losurdo's well-financed campaign. Wake County is one of North Carolina's largest and most urban counties. Hill's victory suggests that the mood of the county has crystalized against Boss Pope's radical agenda.

In Raleigh, Douglas Johnston, a retired state employee, observed, "In Northern Wake County, the Republicans turned out, but the independents voted against them. This election proves that the independent voters never had any genuine enthusiasm for the Tea Party."

In 2008, Obama carried North Carolina by the slenderest of margins, winning with the razor-thin margin of 14,177 votes out of four million cast. Nowhere else in America did Obama have a tighter margin than North Carolina.

To fortify their inroad into the Solid Republican South, Democrats selected Charlotte to be the site for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The latest election results confirm the sagacity of the Southern strategy, but David Parker exemplifies keen-sighted vigilance at the helm, "This election bodes well for 2012, but it will take even harder work next year to be successful."