Thinking about the 2012 race for Governor in North Carolina and the 2014 race for Senate, it's really hard at this point to see who the Republicans are going to put up in those races.
Starting with the Senate race, think about the North Carolina GOP delegation in Congress. For one thing it's dwindling- they're down to five. And for the most part they're pretty darn old. The only one you can really see having any sort of political future is Patrick McHenry, but it's debatable how well he would hold up to the scrutiny of a statewide campaign. I think they're pretty much out.
In the Governor's race Pat McCrory would seem like the Republicans' best bet again. Of course Dino Rossi ran again as the Republican nominee for Governor of Washington this year after losing narrowly in 2004 and he got beat much worse the second time than he did the first time.
Another question: would the Republican field clear for McCrory if he wanted to give it another shot? It's worth remembering that he didn't get to 50% in the primary, and if a single conservative challenged him and actually ran a normal media driven campaign it seems like there's some chance McCrory wouldn't even make it to the general.
Republicans had a chance with open seats for Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer this year to get some folks into a good launching point for a Gubernatorial campaign but they fell short and I don't think a Labor or Agriculture Commissioner in the state has ascended to higher office any time recently or maybe ever.
So it doesn't look good for the GOP moving forward- but at the same time no one probably would have imagined two or three years ago that Kay Hagan would be headed to the US Senate. So there's certainly a precedent for successfully moving from relative political obscurity to the limelight.
Who do you think will be the emerging statewide stars for the Republicans over the next few election cycles?