Runoff needed for NC Dem. Senate nomination

In North Carolina’s six-way primary for the Senate Democratic nomination, Elaine Marshall won by almost points. Marshall got over 36%. The second place candidate, Cal Cunningham, who had support of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), got just over 27% of the vote. But, in NC, the winner must break 40% or there’s a runoff:

In North Carolina, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) and former state senator Cal Cunningham (D) are headed for a June 22 runoff after neither candidate broke 40 percent of the vote.

That result buys national Democrats a bit more time to assist Cunningham. The national party helped recruit Cunningham into the race under the belief that he was the candidate best equipped to beat Sen. Richard Burr (R), but he underperformed on the fundraising front and struggled to make up ground against the better-known Marshall. Democrats view Burr, who won the seat in 2004, as one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the country.

Really? Is that the best use of DSCC resources? Propping up its failed primary candidate?

Polling analysis from NC-based Public Policy Polling indicates that Marshall will win the runoff, which is scheduled for June 22. Frankly, I’d rather see Marshall in a battle against the vulnerable Burr.

Pam Spaulding
, who is also NC-based, thinks so too:

No one needs a costly, damaging runoff that will only give advantage to the horrid incumbent Burr. I’d rather have either candidate win outright rather than have to worry about money pouring in to sully either candidate, weakening them. We’ll see what the priorities are for the Dems when the votes are all in.

Cunningham has every right to run in the runoff. He earned it. But, the goal is beating Burr in November. And, the DSCC shouldn’t weaken its likely nominee.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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