Local Politics

Marshall wins Democratic nomination for Senate

Posted June 22, 2010
Updated June 23, 2010

— Elaine Marshall triumphed Tuesday in her second attempt to win her second U.S. Senate primary.

(See full elections results.)

By a 20-point margin, the veteran politician who has served as North Carolina's secretary of state for more than a decade defeated former Army prosecutor Cal Cunningham in the runoff, eight years after her previous bid failed. She will face Republican Sen. Richard Burr in November.

"On the political side, the odds were stacked against us, but we didn't back down," Marshall said at a victory party at the Brownstone Hotel on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. "For those of you who say it can't be done, get out of the way of those of us doing it."

Cunningham, who was recruited by national party officials who backed his campaign with more than $100,000, immediately endorsed Marshall.

"Let us rally behind Elaine Marshall and go on to the fall campaign and make sure she is successful," Cunningham, a lawyer and former state senator, told supporters in his hometown of Lexington.

The results were a blow to Democratic Party leaders in Washington who recruited and supported Cunningham, who argued he had the best chance to beat Burr. He would have been the first Iraq War veteran in the Senate.

"The Washington establishment made it clear that we needed to win this nomination without their help. But, fortunately, we had you," Marshall told supporters Tuesday.

Supporters said they believed Marshall would best represent North Carolina.

"She has really deep roots here in North Carolina, and she represents the people," Marshall supporter Mark Turner said. "I think she is going to serve us very well in Washington."

Elaine Marshall Marshall wins Democratic runoff

Marshall argued during her campaign that she has advocated for average citizens and fought against powerful industries. She portrayed herself as an outsider in the race, despite her years in statewide office. It paid off: She took about 60 percent of the vote Tuesday amid weak participation, six weeks after she failed to win a first primary vote outright.

"You like to win by whatever margin, but when it's a nice one, it's very satisfying," Marshall said. "I'm very grateful to all the people who came out and cast a vote and cast a vote for me."

Cunningham said that Democrats need to join together to defeat Burr.

"Any differences that (Marshall) and I might have shared pale next to the differences we have with Richard Burr for the job he has not done on behalf of the people of this state," Cunningham said.

Burr, who easily won the Republican primary in May, and said Tuesday night that the Democratic race has shown that voters will decide in November between "two vastly different directions for our country."

"I have a record of less spending, smaller government, less taxes," Burr said. "She's supported most of what the president has proposed."

The extended primary has already left the Democrats starved for cash. Cunningham reported $100,000 in campaign cash at the beginning of June while Marshall reported slightly less than $200,000. Burr, meanwhile, had stockpiled nearly $5 million as of the middle of April.

The state Democratic party plans to hold a unity rally outside its headquarters at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

A little more than 200,000 votes were cast in Tuesday's runoff elections that also included a few congressional races. Some 425,000 voted in the Democratic primary for Senate in May.

"Any election that has such a low turnout is disappointing," said Gary Bartlett, director of the State Board of Elections.


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  • Geez Louise Jun 23, 2010

    NCcarguy, your Limbaugh talking points are really getting old. Don't you have some new ones?

  • OGE Jun 23, 2010

    we don't need another career politician representing us. much better off with Burr.-planter

    I could not agree more...I voted for Cunningham and am unfortunately being forced into vointg for Burr. At least he is good at doing nothing but complaining.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jun 23, 2010

    cam7002...we're taking America back from the failed socialist regime that we somehow let infiltrate our government. We no longer feel like we should pay for the masses that sit on thier porch every day and complain about someone not giving them enough. We no longer want to pander to the dictators of the world, while making enemies of our allies. We no longer want to have a leader that BOWS to other men. We no longer want to have our future dictated to us by one person, and that person not have the intelligence to run a lemon stand. THAT'S what we are taking America back from !!!! Just sit and watch...there's little your little brain or brawn can do about it!

  • Humungous Jun 23, 2010

    Most Republicans I know aren't rich, just stupid. With mentors like Reagan, Helms, Bonzo, Bush and Lil'Bush, what else could one expect?

  • wakeconative4ever Jun 23, 2010

    Actually, all of the republicans that I know are poor or middle class people. Just regular folks who seem to want common sense back in politics.

  • wakeconative4ever Jun 23, 2010

    Burr is a shoo in for sure now. I don't want a senator that looks like she needs to walk with a cane. I want someone who is younger and more in touch with the issues.

  • RedStatesManWatts Jun 23, 2010

    "How can anyone making less than $100,000 per year vote Republican? Pure ignorance. The Republican party is the party of the rich, for the rich. Republican Aristocracy..."
    I see that you have fallen hook, line and sinker for this ole liberal lie. Dems have been feeding you this stuff for 100 years. al gore, obama, pelosi, reid, clintons...none of them are rich? Wake up pal! Stop drinking the kool-aid!

  • JustAName Jun 23, 2010

    "Only now is it sacred, now that there is a Dem in the WH."

    No, we didn't like the Republicans doing it either, which is why they loss the house and senate in 2006 and even more in 2008.

    "The Republican party is the party of the rich, for the rich. "
    You mean, like the Clintons, Kerrys, Kennedys, Gores, Gates, Soros, etc....

  • ThinkChick Jun 23, 2010

    The best and brightest probably would not want to be treated to the bank busting fundraising they'd need just to have themselves and everyone they have every known put through a mudslinging fest 24/7.

    Besides they are creating jobs and innovating -- until our state taxes and federal taxes and union-loving, government power-boosting regs become so onerous that they pack up and leave.

  • Just the facts mam Jun 23, 2010

    The last think we need in the US Senate is another liberal politician like Sen. Hagan. To tell you the truth, I do not care for Burr nor Marshall - I will probably vote for Burr as we do not need another liberal spending our childrens money in DC.