The spotlight of national political coverage is, as usual, fixed entirely on Iowa on this New Years weekend, and it will swing eastward to the Granite State on Wednesday. But further to the south, another state is getting ready for a barrage of intense political attention which won’t fade away after a week or two. North Carolina is preparing for what some are calling a “perfect storm” of contested political conditions which will throw everything into an uproar till well after Labor Day. [See incredibly dense update below]

North Carolina voters may never feel more loved — or pestered — in 2012 by politicians and others anxious to persuade them on electoral choices.

The state is on the cusp of an unparalleled year in politics, anchored by the Democratic National Convention gathering in Charlotte in September, when President Barack Obama will be nominated for a second term. North Carolina was already poised to be a battleground state because Obama won it by just 14,200 votes in 2008…

“It has the potential to be a perfect storm. You just have all of those races at various levels (and) all being very competitive simultaneously,” said Eric Heberlig, an associate political science professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “That is just going to magnify the level of media attention …. We’re going to be sick of campaign commercials by next Election Day.”

Even after the primary voting concludes, the presidential campaign will already be in full swing. Obama carried North Carolina by a margin that wouldn’t fill a mid-size college football stadium, and you can bet he’d like to pull off that feat again. He’ll be hitting the ground early to try to build a preemptive strike against the eventual GOP nominee, and that will continue throughout the year with the Republicans answering in kind as soon as the primary is sorted out.

Adding to the mess is the governor’s race between Democrat Gov. Beverly Perdue and Republican Pat McCrory. This one is a rematch of what they considered the closest gubernatorial election in living memory, so both of them will be feeling like a win is achievable and will be soaking the airwaves and beating down doors very early in the season. And on top of it all the Democrat’s convention will be held in their state this summer. That should be another circus which brings traffic to a halt.

Best of luck to North Carolina voters. By the time this is done, probably half of the residents will have had the opportunity to have dinner in their homes with both candidates for president and governor and their phones will be ringing off the hooks. My prediction is that sales of DVRs will go through the roof early this year, as there will likely be very few commercials for the next ten months that aren’t talking trash about one politician or another.

Correction: Sure would have been nice if this had said North Carolina instead of South, wouldn’t it? So much for working on Sundays. Add that to my list of things not to write the morning after a New Years Eve party. *sigh*