I wanted to highlight a piece I wrote for National Review Online about North Carolina.

One of the fascinating things about North Carolina politics this year (and there are many) is that the state was never supposed to be a part of the political dialogue. Not in the primary, not in the general. Of course, a lot of things happened in this campaign season no one predicted, so maybe it makes a certain sense. In any event, it is hugely significant that in the North Carolina primary on May 6 — at a time when Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Memo: Trump's strengths complicate election picture Obama shares phone number to find out how Americans are planning to vote Democrats' troubling adventure in a 'Wonderland' without 'rule of law' MORE was seen as the clear front-runner — 44 percent of North Carolina Democrats voted against him. That's 664,000 voters.

With the campaign neck and neck in the state, those conservative Democrats, the old "Jessecrats" who are registered Democrat but often vote Republican, represent a prime opportunity for John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Memo: Trump's strengths complicate election picture Mark Kelly: Arizona Senate race winner should be sworn in 'promptly' Cindy McCain: Trump allegedly calling war dead 'losers' was 'pretty much' last straw before Biden endorsement MORE to pick up votes in the state. A large percentage of these voters are in eastern North Carolina. Two factors here help McCain:

1. Many of these voters are military personnel and veterans located around North Carolina bases such as Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg (North Carolina has the second highest population of military personnel in the nation — largely concentrated in the east). These are natural McCain voters.

2. In 2004, northeastern North Carolina gave Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrRep. Mark Walker says he's been contacted about Liberty University vacancy Overnight Defense: Trump rejects major cut to military health care | Senate report says Trump campaign's Russia contacts posed 'grave' threat Senate report describes closer ties between 2016 Trump campaign, Russia MORE (R) his second highest margin with swing voters.

It's no coincidence that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's first visit to North Carolina was in Greenville, the largest city in the area. Nor is it a coincidence that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida The Hill's Campaign Report: Presidential polls tighten weeks out from Election Day More than 50 Latino faith leaders endorse Biden MORE made such a strong effort to target the East.

In a year of political twists and turns, McCain may well win the state, in part, by following the Clinton road map that exposed a party divided.