Local News

Former House Speaker Claims Edwards' Indecision Affects Other Candidates' Future

Posted July 22, 2003

— Decision day is fast approaching for state Sen. John Edwards, who wants to be president. Many wonder whether he will abandon that bid to seek re-election to the U.S. Senate or will he go full force and clear the way for a Democratic successor? One potential candidate thinks Edwards needs to make a decision soon.

Officials say North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has been a formidable fund-raiser in his bid for president, but in a field of nine Democrats, he has lagged in the polls.

"Of course, what really matters is where he [Edwards] is next January, February and March," said campaign chair Ed Turlington in an interview in June talking about the Iowa caucuses and early primaries.

If Edwards waits that long to decide whether he will run for his senate seat again, he will likely burn some bridges in the party.

"January or February basically makes it very difficult for anybody who is not an incumbent," said Raleigh attorney and former state House Speaker Dan Blue.

Blue said he will seriously consider a run for the Senate if Edwards sticks to the presidential race. Out of fairness to other candidates, Blue said Edwards needs to make a decision in the next couple of months.

"I think that October, again, is about the latest that you could start pulling together the machinery," he said.

Weeks ago, potential candidate Erskine Bowles called for a decision by Labor Day. He has since remained quiet on the issue after a meeting with Edwards. While the Democrats wait, Republican Richard Burr has raised over $3 million. Most believe other potential candidates cannot wait too much longer for Edwards to choose between being a senator or president.

"We need to make sure North Carolina comes out a winner in one of these in the interest of the people of this state," Blue said.

No one from the Edwards camp was available to talk to WRAL about this story. Up to this point, Edwards has said he will make a decision that is good for himself and the party, but he has not said when he will make his decision.


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