Local News

Kerry-Edwards Ticket Makes N.C. Player In Presidential Politics

Posted July 7, 2004

— Thanks to Sen. John Kerry's decision to select Sen. John Edwards as his running mate, North Carolina is once again considered "up for grabs" in the presidential race.

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WRAL-Mason Dixon poll

conducted in May shows Edwards will have a big impact on the presidential race in North Carolina. Without Edwards, Bush beats Kerry by 7 percent. When Edwards is added to the mix, Bush leads 46-45 percent -- a statistical dead heat when you consider the margin of error.

Ed Turlington, who ran Edwards' presidential campaign, said the senator's voting record will draw support back home.

"John Edwards has been an effective senator for North Carolina, not only his voting record, but doing things like fighting for textile jobs, fighting for grants, fighting for storm relief, so we believe that will be a strength," Turlington said.

Tom Fetzer, a consultant to GOP candidates and a two-term Raleigh mayor, says Edwards' record is a liability at home.

"John Edwards' record in the U.S. Senate, [the] fourth most liberal voting record and an attendance record that's not one to be real proud of for the last 18 months, is going to be a real issue in this election in this state," Fetzer said.

In a written statement, the North Carolina Republican party called Edwards "Kerry's second choice" and calls the selection, "pessimism with a Southern drawl." The Republicans are using who they call Kerry's first choice, Sen. John McCain, in a recently released ad campaign.

If Edwards can help Kerry win North Carolina, they will become the first Democrats to win the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Bill Clinton and Al Gore lost to President George H.W. Bush's by 1 percent back in 1992.

Edwards will have to overcome not only recent history, but 140 years of history. Only three native North Carolinians have served as president or vice president.

Back in 1845, James Polk was elected as the nation's 11th president. He was born in Mecklenburg County. Eight years later, William King was sworn in as vice president. The Sampson County native died shortly after taking office.

In 1865, Andrew Johnson became vice president under the Abraham Lincoln ticket. Johnson, who was born in Raleigh, finished Lincoln's term when he was assassinated.

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