Local Politics

Dems battle summer vacation to get voters' attention

Posted June 8, 2010

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— In early November, people might be more focused on voting than on vacations, but in mid-June, it's the other way around, which has the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate scrambling to draw attention to the race.

A June 22 runoff election between North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham will determine who will oppose Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr in the fall.

Watch the Democratic Senate candidates debate at 7 p.m. Thursday on WRAL-TV or WRAL.com. After the debate, watch live analysis on WRAL.com with Cullen Browder of WRAL, Laura Leslie of WUNC-FM and Jack Betts of The Charlotte Observer.

Marshall has run several statewide campaigns, and she said she understands people focus on graduations more than government at this time of year.

"Early voting has started. I wish the numbers were a little better. No, I wish the numbers were considerably better," she said.

Like Marshall, Cunningham said he is looking for votes and voter interest wherever he can find it.

"We've been in eastern North Carolina the past couple of days. We've been in the southeastern part of the state. We're here in the Triangle pressing the flesh, shaking hands (and) answering a lot of voters' questions," he said.

Most people are interested in how the government is addressing the economy and the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but for the Democratic base, the concerns are more specific.

"The objective here is to beat – unseat – a Republican incumbent who has not been doing his job," Cunningham said.

"When we talk to Democrats, they want to know who's going to be the best and strongest to stand up to Burr, in addition to the substantive issues," Marshall said.

Both candidates are loyal to the Democratic Party, its principles and President Barack Obama, but they're trying to separate themselves in the minds of voters while focusing their attacks on Burr instead of each other.

Marshall cited "being able to take on special interests and win (and) being able to take on the medical profession and win and get results" as the difference between her and Cunningham.

He countered, "The electorate is looking for new, energetic voices to go to Washington and deal with some of the challenges that we're facing, and that's what we're presenting in this campaign."


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  • NCPictures Jun 9, 2010

    Its amazing... the ADD is high in some of these people.. taking a topic like Democratic voter attention and changing it to electric cars.

  • commonsense4 Jun 9, 2010

    cont'd . . .

    GW got in office and appointed Andrew Card as the US Sec. of Transportation. What most Americans don't know is that he was the head of the American Automobile Association for 6 years in the 90's. He put an oil friendly guy in charge at the expense of American taxpayers. You also saw Bush out there in bs promo shots trying to trick Americans (which he did) into thinking he was trying to lessen our dependence on oil by talking about Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology. This is over 10 years after the White House, the AMA and oil industry and naive consumers did everything they could to kill the electric car. This technology uses 3-4 times the power of electric cars and each car costs around $1 million. It's not even within 20 years of becoming a reality if ever. The man who developed batteries for the electric car was censored by GM from promoting them while GM said there was no demand. Also the Saudis decreased the price of oil to kill alternatives.
    Wake up America!

  • commonsense4 Jun 9, 2010

    For people to think this wouldn't be a bigger problem with Repubs in office they really have to be just plain ignorant or naive.

    Oil has always been Republicans and Republican Presidents best friends. After the oil embargo in the 70's Jimmy Carter got tough on the automobile industry and MPG standards. Because of that MPG went up drastically. He also tried to encourage alternatives by putting solar panels on the White House. Then Reagan came in (the most over-rated Prez in history and the reason behind the late 80's-early 90's real estate market collapse) and started repealing every regulation meant to help consumers deal with industry greed. He actually took the solar panels off the White House. MPG standards stood still for over 20 years. This continued with the 1st Bush. Then Clinton's admin worked a deal for auto companiess to develop hybrids b/c the auto and oil companies did not want an all electric car. Then GW got in office and . . .

  • Bill of Rights Jun 9, 2010

    cwood: Are you suggesting that McCain and Palin would have handled this situation better? Or perhaps the disaster in the gulf would simply have reinforced that "drill, baby, drill" perhaps wasn't the wisest platform--literally and figuratively. I can just imagine VP Palin standing on the oil-soaked shores saying "Aaw, shucks", and showing America just how useless she really is.

  • Bill of Rights Jun 9, 2010

    Richard Burr: a shill for big business. Unfortunately, North Carolina's conservatives will whine loud enough to keep Burr in power, and they will retard any real progress we could make with a senator who can think for himself and may actually care about the people. I guess being white, clean cut and anti-gay is what we call "progress".

  • Weaker Pelosi Jun 9, 2010

    Yeah, all we need is more tax and spend dems in washington.

  • tsquaring Jun 8, 2010

    They have my attention. I will be voting against any and all democrats. Money going to every other party as well.

  • rvwest Jun 8, 2010

    I think the dims have already gained a great deal of attention from the voters. No one can screw up that badly without being noticed.

  • cwood3 Jun 8, 2010

    Who cares?? Eith one will loose big to Richard Burr. Unlike the wanta be prognosticators in DC, richard Burr is not in troule in NC. If all goes real well in November and Republicans retake the Senate, Mr Bur's seniority will be a big help to North Carolina.

    We must stop our Community Organizer President. he has risen to the top level of incompetence in this gulf Oil disaster. He has NO CLUE what to do next. Matter of fact, his hacks(aids and dept heads) are clueless as well.

    What's missing is REAL LEADERSHIP!!

    How's that "hope and change" workin out so far???