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How much is the presidential primary overwhelming other races?

Here’s a sign: Who would have guessed that an openly gay candidate for United States Senate in North Carolina would go virtually unnoticed?

But that’s the case for Jim Neal in his race against Kay Hagan.

That a U.S. Senate race is basically being treated as a down-ballot contest – something like the race for Lieutenant Governor – is a sign of how dramatically the Obama-Clinton contest has changed our political chemistry.

We’re not accustomed to this. Back when our presidential primary did count – like in 1976 and 1988 – that primary was on a different day from statewide races.

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