NC-Sen: Ken Lewis endorses Elaine Marshall

Elaine Marshall picked up a big endorsement yesterday in her campaign for the U.S. Senate from Ken Lewis:

Lewis said he was particularly impressed with the conviction and courage shown by Marshall, North Carolina's secretary of state, even as Democratic officials in Washington put their support behind the other remaining candidate, Cal Cunningham. He praised Marshall for her ability to organize grass roots support and to appeal to a broad range of voters.

"I believe that to win this fall, Democrats will have to do both," Lewis said, as Marshall and her supporters stood nearby. "And Secretary Marshall provides us with a demonstrably stronger opportunity to do just that." [...]

Lewis said during Wednesday's news conference that he has since [March] had more conversations with Marshall and believes she will be able to lead in Washington. He continued to pound on a message of insider politics by questioning the role the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee played in recruiting Cunningham instead of letting North Carolina voters choose a candidate, declaring that they had been "trying to exercise undue influence in our nominating process."

In the May 4 primary, Marshall won about 36 percent of the vote to 27 percent for Cunningham and 17 percent for Lewis. She was already favored going into the June 22 runoff election, and Lewis' support makes her the prohibitive favorite. The winner of the runoff will face first-term incumbent Senator Richard Burr, whose approval numbers are anemic. This isn't our best pickup opportunity in the Senate, but the race is winnable with a strong campaign and GOTV.

Of all the questionable moves made by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee under Bob Menendez's leadership, meddling in the North Carolina primary looks like the worst. It's bad enough for the DSCC to blow money on Blanche Lincoln and Arlen Specter against challengers from the left, but you'd expect the committee to support incumbents. I see no reason for the DSCC to take sides in North Carolina. Cunningham doesn't poll better against Burr than Marshall does; in fact, Marshall does better in some polling. Most progressives in North Carolina favor Marshall over Cunningham (though Cunningham did get the Sierra Club's endorsement).

Without the DSCC's spending for Cunningham, Marshall might have won the primary outright on May 4. It's not as if we won't need the DSCC's money in at least 10 other Senate races this fall.

Any thoughts on this campaign or North Carolina politics generally are welcome in this thread.

Tags: North Carolina, 2010 elections, Congress, Senate, Elaine Marshall, Cal Cunningham, Ken Lewis, Bob Menendez, DSCC, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, NC-SEN, richard burr (all tags)



The DSCC should butt out of primaries like NC's

Marshall is a great candidate who has already won 4 statewide elections. The Sec of State position is not the most high profile job, but Marshall has used it to fight for clean elections and to shed light on lobbyists' activities and financial industry scams.

In comparison, Cunningham is unknown to most of the state. Cunningham initially said no to running, only to change his mind a few weeks later.

Female candidates are on a roll in NC recently, from Kay Hagan and Bev Perdue to winning a majority of the Council of State (Sec of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Sec of Labor, Supt of Schools) positions for the first time ever in 2008.

With Ken Lewis' endorsement, I expect Marshall to win the primary easily and to beat Burr in a close battle in November.





by Bear83 2010-05-20 09:45AM | 0 recs
RE: The DSCC should butt out of primaries like NC's

As a general rule, party committees should stay out of competitive primaries, especially when there is no incumbent in the race. If the DSCC had money to burn, or if Marshall polled particularly badly against the Republican, I could see getting involved, but Marshall sounds a better candidate anyway.

I hope NC Democrats can get out the vote in November. I know the state was a major focus of the Obama field operation in 2008.

by desmoinesdem 2010-05-20 09:53AM | 0 recs


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