The first thing I have to say about this race is that it is sad folks like Dan Besse and Pat Smathers can't raise the money necessary to be competitive in a race like this. They are two of the finest people in public service I have ever known but they never really had a chance to be successful in this race because they couldn't raise a million bucks. That's life, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.
It looks like Smathers spent about 62 cents per vote, based on the most recent campaign finance filings. Besse spent $1.52 per vote, Walter Dalton spent $2.13 per vote, and Hampton Dellinger spent $2.22. Looking at those figures it's hard not to think Pat Smathers would have had a real decent chance at winning this race if he'd had the same resources as Dalton and Dellinger. I hope the next Governor finds a place for Pat in their administration- he has a whole lot to offer this state. Same with Dan.
Dalton won this race in the small towns and rural areas of North Carolina. Dellinger couldn't get much traction outside of the urban areas in the state. Hampton won large victories in Durham and Orange counties, where he lives and grew up respectively. He also eaked out victories in Wake, Chatham, and Mecklenburg counties and won four counties in eastern North Carolina.
Dalton won the rest of the state, except for Haywood County where Smathers was victorious. In many of the smaller and rural counties Dalton led Dellinger by more than a 2 to 1 margin, including Alexander, Ashe, Anson, Bladen, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Columbus, Currituck, Dare, Edgecombe, Graham, Granville, Halifax, Hoke, Jones, Lenoir, Macon, McDowell, Nash, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Polk, Robeson, Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Vance, Warren, and Yancey Counties. That's an impressive combination of western and eastern counties, and an indication that Dalton had pretty strong statewide appeal.
One other note on this race: our final preelection poll showed Dalton leading Dellinger 33-23, but Dalton's advantage with black voters in it was 41-24. Dellinger won the endorsement of almost every black political group in the state, but the influence of those groups has been declining and if the crosstabs from our final poll were accurate it looks like they didn't do a great job of building support for him in their communities.