Democrats can't remember sitting so low.
As the dominant force in North Carolina politics for over a century, Democrats almost always held all the strings of power in Raleigh. They'll all be cut after last week's election. The Democrats' 20-year winning streak for governor is over. They'll hold barely one-third of the Legislature's seats, and Republicans remain the majority on the state Supreme Court.
Democrats also took hits in federal races. North Carolina was the only battleground state President Barack Obama lost in his successful re-election campaign. And Democrats lost at least three U.S. House seats.
"The Democratic Party in North Carolina is as weak as it has ever been as a political power force," veteran North Carolina political researcher John Davis said.
It's left Democrats wondering how they'll maximize what little influence they'll have and how to rebuild their brand in the state. But they're also nervous about whether 2012 was an aberration in a competitive two-party state or the start of a long-term hiatus.
"We're at a crossroads. I don't think anybody knows the answer to this question," said former Democratic Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker, but "there's no question the Democratic Party is going to be going through a retooling process."