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: Democrats confront prospect of long primary George Conway: 'If Barack Obama had done this' Republicans would be 'out for blood' George Conway to take part in MSNBC impeachment hearing coverage 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 McCain2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Defending their honor as we hear their testimony 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 BurrGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Graham: Senate trial 'must expose the whistleblower' GOP chairman says Senate impeachment trial could last 6-8 weeks 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 Clinton2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Manafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT 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.