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How can a state be represented by Jesse Helms and John Edwards at the same time? Journalist Rob Christensen answers that question and navigates a century of political history in North Carolina, one of the most politically vibrant and competitive southern states, where neither conservatives nor liberals, Democrats nor Republicans, have been able to rest easy. It is this climate of competition and challenge, Christensen argues, that enabled North Carolina to rise from poverty in the nineteenth century to become a leader in research, education, and banking in the twentieth.
In this new paperback edition, Christensen provides updated coverage of recent changes in North Carolina's political landscape, including the scandals surrounding John Edwards and Mike Easley, the defeat of U.S. senator Elizabeth Dole, the election of the state's first woman governor, and voters' approval of an African American candidate for president. The book provides an overview of the run-up to the 2010 elections and explains how North Carolina has become, arguably, the most politically competitive state in the South.