Local Politics

Cunningham focuses on Burr, not primary

Posted April 28, 2010 6:42 p.m. EDT
Updated April 28, 2010 7:09 p.m. EDT

— Cal Cunningham is the only Democratic candidate in the U.S. Senate race running television ads, and the spots make it seem that he's campaigning in the general election, not next week's primary.

The energetic, 36-year-old former state senator from Lexington criticizes Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr every chance he gets, whether its on television or at meetings of the Democratic Party faithful.

"I think one of the things that our party is looking for is someone to hold this senator accountable," Cunningham said recently after a meeting with Wake County Democrats.

A recent WRAL News Poll showed Cunningham trailed North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall among likely Democratic voters, 23 to 19 percent, but about a third of voters were undecided.

Cunningham was elected to the state Senate in 2000, and he volunteered for the Army Reserves after 9/11. He served a tour of duty in Iraq, where he was a military prosecutor.

He also studied at the London School of Economics and said he's focused on the economy and job creation.

"This election matters," he said. "We know with the economy the way it is, with the job market and the challenges we face, we're not going to get out of these challenges by accident. We didn't get into them by accident."

Cunningham said he supports President Barack Obama and believes in his mission and vision even as the president's popularity sinks nationwide.

"I intend to work with him. I will be a Democrat who will go to Washington to be part of the solution, and I think he's driving toward solutions as well," he said.