Those who attended (or watched online) Fred Barnes’ Nov. 15 John Locke Foundation Headliner speech might remember his brief reference to writing an article about North Carolina’s role as a potential model for a “red-state resurgence.” The Wall Street Journal published that article this weekend, and it includes some input from JLF.

The administration of incumbent Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue—though not Ms. Perdue personally—was marked by scandals. The John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank, uncovered numerous instances of misconduct and reported them in its publication, Carolina Journal. Gov. Perdue’s job approval sank to 25%, making her the second-most unpopular governor in the country (behind Pat Quinn in Illinois).

That wasn’t all. In 2007, Democratic House Speaker Jim Black was convicted of taking a $25,000 bribe. In 2009, the law license of Gov. Perdue’s predecessor, Mike Easley, was suspended after his conviction on a campaign reporting violation, a felony. And this year, the state Democratic Party was hit by a sexual-harassment scandal.

“There was a culture of corruption because Democrats were in power for so long,” says John Hood, president of the Locke Foundation. “And there were crooks.”