Democrats won the White House again and picked up seats in the U.S. Senate, but the party in Raleigh is noticeably less rambunctious.
It remains unclear who will lead Democratic efforts in the Tar Heel State, but the picture may become clearer when the House Democratic Caucus will meet privately in the legislative building at 1 p.m. Wednesday to select a minority leader; Senate Democrats will meet for the same reason in mid-December.
Rep. Larry Hall of Durham has been active in pursuing the role of House minority leader.
He said much of the strategy he hopes to see hinges on whether Gov.-elect Pat McCrory acts as a moderate or gives in to far right elements of the Republican Party.
"There's going to be a continuing tension," Hall said. "We had it in our party when we had the governor and both bodies of the legislature. The budget is going to be the salient piece that really tells the story. Will the budget be basically what the legislature told him to send, or will it be something else that ends up being radically changed?"
Hall said he has been around long enough to realize that "until the votes are counted, you don't have the votes," but whoever is picked for leadership positions will lead efforts to find different ways to look at issues in the immediate legislative session and the long run.
Finding alternative takes to Republicans and past positions of Democrats on issues like charter schools, the structure of the university system, business incentives and so on will likely be key, Hall said.
Rep. Deborah Ross once expressed interest in the position but now says she is not running for minority leader. She said the goal for Democrats will center on a campaign to keep people informed of what's going on.
"It's very important to let the voters know what they've chosen and to hold legislators accountable for decisions they make," Ross said.
Ross added that the diminished caucus realizes a concerted effort will be needed to make inroads in 2014 and beyond.
"It's a team effort," she said. "This isn't something where you appoint one person and they do it on their own, and I think Larry Hall understands that. He understands the whole picture."
Rep. Tricia Cotham, who is the youngest member of the caucus and said that Hall was the only person to contact her to express interest in serving as minority leader, believes a willingness to work with Republicans wherever there is common ground will pay off in the long run.
"We can't sit aside and cry and complain," Cotham said. "What we thought might be a good solution two years ago might not work with reality right now. That goes with being a good policy maker."