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First the legislature retreated on RFRA. Then on Dix.

Take a bow, Wake County. And take note of what this portends for 2016.

The Republican juggernaut slowed, if only briefly, because Republicans realized they better not push Wake County much farther. Education cuts, tax increases and commissioner-gerrymandering have mobilized Democrats in the county and alienated Independents.

Rep. Gary Pendleton said it out loud when he abandoned his support – sponsorship, even – of the “religious freedom” act. He’s committed to religious freedom so long as it doesn’t cost him reelection.

Follow me here: Wake County is the biggest voting county in North Carolina, with more than 10 percent of the total vote. It is the biggest swing-voting county. It can cause a seismic shift in the legislature. It can decide the winner in the races for Governor and U.S. Senator.

Even more, being the biggest county in a big swing state (North Carolina was Obama’s closest win in 2008 and Romney’s closest win in 2012), it’s no stretch to say Wake could decide who is the next President.

That’s clout. We saw it this week.

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