Anne Blythe’s News and Observer piece begins:
Doug McCullough was five months away from his deadline for mandatory retirement from the state Court of Appeals bench when the chairman of the state Republican Party gave him a call.
Democrat Roy Cooper would become governor in several weeks and Robin Hayes, the former U.S. congressman on the other end of the line, wanted McCullough to consider resigning early from his elected seat so Republican Pat McCrory could appoint a replacement in the waning days of his administration.
The Republicans not only had lost the governor’s office with Cooper’s victory. They also had lost a majority on the state Supreme Court in the November elections.