Andy Taylor, a political science professor at N.C. State University, said Poole's plea likely will mean more bad news for Democrats running for office in the fall.
The plea alone is another reminder of the scandals that have plagued state Democrats over the past several years, ranging from former Agriculture Secretary Meg Scott Phipps to former House Speaker Jim Black.
That, coupled with the Democratic control in Congress and the White House now, sets up a political season where Democrats are aligned as the party in power at state and federal levels. In the past, that hasn't always been so — leading to broad-brush labeling of all parties as getting embroiled in corruption, he tells Dan Kane.
With Poole cooperating, Democrats could see more bad headlines in the summer and fall. They are trying to hold on to the state legislature come November, and knock out a Republican incumbent U.S. senator, Richard Burr.
"We might get other indictments as we go along, perhaps even a huge fish, and again that would promote the issue of scandal and corruption, and help the Republicans," Taylor said.
He said Democrats have two options in this situation: push for government reforms and also distance themselves from former Gov. Mike Easley.
Easley's successor, Bev Perdue, has unveiled a reform package and House Democrats have passed reforms last year that the Senate is expected to take up in this year's session.
There is a counter-argument. Polling has suggested that voters don't trust anyone, and so running on it as an issue hasn't been particularly effective, according to Public Policy Polling.
From the post: "These numbers are a good indication of why corruption hasn't been a
particularly effective electoral issue for Republicans in 2006 and 2008
despite the number of Democratic scandals. The voters don't really
trust them any more than they do the Democrats."