While North Carolina doesn’t have a governor’s race this year, our neighbor to the south does. And for the first time in a while, it looks like Democrats might have a shot. State Senator Vincent Sheheen is looking for a rematch against South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. He lost by only four points to Haley in 2010, a year when other Democrats across the country were getting slaughtered.

For evidence that the race is serious, look no further than the Republican Governor’s Association. They’re already spending big money trying to take Sheheen out. This week, they started running ads bashing Sheheen for supporting Medicaid expansion. Unfortunately for them, RGA Chair Chris Christie also supported Medicaid expansion, turning the conversation into one about hypocrisy. Regardless, the money they are spending this early means the GOP is taking Sheheen seriously.

It’s still a long way off but Sheheen could make this a race. If he wins, it would change the perception of the Deep South as a solidly Republican bastion. It should be a fun race to watch. Besides, former North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Andrew Whalen is managing Sheheen’s campaign.

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