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Over the next year and a half, we’ll read many articles about the role key states will play in the 2012 elections. Today, the Washington Post takes a look at the changing demographics of North Carolina. Obama won that state in 2008 by a slim margin. Both parties intend to make a play for North Carolina’s electoral votes. Overall, the state is changing demographically and politically. Not surprisingly, Latino voters are a key factor in this change:
Not all Republicans are ready to abandon the “Southern strategy,” a game plan that Helms famously used to great effect as recently as 1990 with a TV ad stoking white resentment over affirmative action. Even last year, amid a Republican surge, the tactic appeared in some rural corners in the form of a racially provocative mail piece.
Paid for by the state GOP and sent into a half-dozen legislative districts, the mailer took aim at a North Carolina law passed by Democrats that allows death-row inmates to appeal their sentences on the grounds of racial bias.
“It had a photo of a black person who was intended to look like a criminal,” said Joe Hackney, the Democratic minority leader of the state House.
But if those tactics still work in localized legislative races — as it is widely presumed they do — there is a growing belief that they are less effective statewide. [North Carolina GOP Chair and former Congressman Robin] Hayes said the GOP plans unprecedented outreach to blacks, Latinos and young voters.
“We’ve got specific goals and specific ideas that we’re using to let these constituencies, these strategic partners, know what we stand for,” he said.