Ok - soooo...
I went to get some supplies and waited 2 hours in line. All of the stores are closing and today was the last day they're staying open so things were a little crazy.
I got back, distributor is tight. I took some PB lubricant and sprayed a tiny bit on each of the obvious moving parts on the carb. Refitted the air cleaner, and it started up as usual. A little high for a minute or so, tap the had and it comes down a little, tap the gas after another minute or so and it seemed to be idling like usual.
I let the engine warm up for about 5 mins, and went for a 20 minute drive including highways and city streets. No issues at all. Seems ok. Hopefully it stays that way.
Question - is it possible that the choke was sticking? I'm fairly new to working on cars, but have been working on motorcycles for the past 6 years or so. Had a similar issue with the manual choke on a bike. Not sure how automatic chokes on cars work though, so forgive my ignorance.
Many thanks for all of your timely replies!! I'm sure I'll have a new thread to start soon! (Barring having to restart this one)