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The most-clicked Dome posts of 2012 show N.C. in national spotlight

What made the biggest splash on Dome in 2012? The top 5 stories -- in terms of reader clicks --reflect how North Carolina played a major role in the national political scene and the Washington-driven penchant for little news bits that speak to a larger narrative. It doesn't necessarily reflect the biggest news of the political year, but what generated interest in the blogosphere.

Click below to see the top 5.

Gov. Perdue says election results aren't repudiation of N.C. Democratic Party

UPDATED: Gov. Bev Perdue said the Republican victories that defined the 2012 election in North Carolina are not a reflection on the state of the N.C. Democratic Party.

In her first comments about the election, the Democratic chief executive said the election showed larger forces at work in the state. "It's just the times. It's absolutely the times," she said. "What happened in the country was great: President Obama was re-elected, we gained Senate seats across the country. North Carolina is at an interesting time. Our population is changing."

Asked how long it would take Democrats to return to the governor's mansion, Perdue dodged.

Morning Roundup: N.C. Democrats lost in wilderness, Parker may seek to stay

For the first time in more than a century, the once-proud party of Jim Hunt and Terry Sanford, Luther Hodges and O. Max Gardner has been banished to the back benches of North Carolina state government.

The state Democratic Party also has been in turmoil since last spring, after allegations of sexual harassment. State Party chairman David Parker was criticized for his handling of the affair, but ignored pressure to resign. As a result, he became a liability as a spokesman and fundraiser.

Still, Parker has privately told some he may seek another term, and party leaders fear he may have the committee votes to keep the job. Read more here.

More political headlines:

Notebook: Given big loss, what did Walter Dalton do wrong?

In the wake of Democrat Walter Dalton's double-digit loss in the governor's race comes this question: Could he have done anything different to win?

Dome put the question to a few Democratic consultants and political observers. They offer interesting takes on why Dalton never caught fire but mention one recurring theme: he didn't distance himself from the current administration strongly enough. Read below.

Gov. Perdue refunds donors, gives $250K to party; $1.26 million remains

As noted in today's story, Gov. Bev Perdue is still sitting on $1.26 million as her would-be Democratic successor struggled to raise money. More details from her report:

Perdue started the year with $2 million. Since July, she directed $250,000 to the state Democratic Party and refunded $243,000 to individual donors. A campaign aide said she also gave $4,000 to Dalton, but the donation is not reflected in the records.

Gov. Perdue is the hostess-in-chief, state Democratic chairman on the sidelines

Gov. Bev Perdue will play hostess in chief this week with the world look at North Carolina amid the Democratic convention. Her tentative schedule four national cable news interviews starting with CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday live from Charlotte at 9 a.m. 

On Monday, after rehearsing for her opening remarks on the convention's first day, Perdue is tentatively scheduled to appear on MSNBC for separate interviews with Andrea Mitchell and Chris Matthews. And later in the week she will appear on MSNBC again for an interview with Chuck Todd.

But one major N.C. Democratic face you won't see on TV: state party Chairman David Parker, officials said. (The less he's seen the better, some Democrats privately say.) 

N.C. Democrats tout convention delegates diversity

The N.C. Democratic Party sent along a memo this week with stats highlighting the diversity of its national convention delegation. Take a look below:

185 total people in the delegation including delegates, pages and committee members.

The 2012 delegation exceeded our goals in 6 of 7 Affirmative Action categories, and we met all goals overall.  More about our party's goals and efforts to meet them can be found on pages 24-27 of the delegate selection plan. (The delegate selection plan can be found here.

Democrats cast McCrory as a puppet of special interests

As the GOP rallies its troops, the state Democratic Party released its own web video Thursday casting Pat McCrory as a puppet of special interests.

In the two-minute video, a faux McCrory campaign staff sits around a boardroom table talking about the candidate's polling problem. Two suited men, one sipping a martini, lay under the table and give the Republican candidate advice.

Democrats try to crown new nickname on Thom Tillis

Democrats are looking to coin a new nickname for the House Speaker: King Thom Tillis. The state party launched a website and Twitter handle under the monicker with the slogan, "looking out for the King's interests, not yours."

Like other political hit sites mocking politicians, the page about Tillis is a collection of unflattering headlines rehashing  romantic relationships his aides had with two lobbyists, the pending state ethics probe and his costly statewide town hall tour, among others. 

Tillis spokesman Jordan Shaw fired back: "Have you ever heard of a king who term limits himself?" he said referring to the speaker's pledge to serve only one more term.

Morning Roundup: Democrats turn up heat in debate, party controversy

The Democratic gubernatorial candidates sharpened their criticisms Tuesday night, drawing more pointed contrasts with each other’s records in the second in a series of televised debates. 

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge heard his congressional record on trade and his tenure as superintendent of public instruction come under fire. Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton found himself defending his attendance record and his advocacy of Democratic causes in the legislature. Read the story here. And get the pundits' take on the debate.

Other headlines:

-- The calls for Democratic Party chairman David Parker to resign snowballed Tuesday, leaving his tenure short on days. Gov. Bev Perdue, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and former Congressman Bob Etheridge all reversed course to call for his ouster after trying to avoid the controversy for days.

The Charlotte Observer is calling it the "April Surprise" and the paper's cartoonist gets in his take on the candidates' reactions to scandal.

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