Local Politics

Democrats debate to meet Burr in Senate race

In a debate Thursday at WRAL, Lexington attorney Cal Cunningham stressed holding oil companies responsible for offshore spills while Secretary of State Elaine Marshall wanted short-term answers for the unemployed, including extending unemployment benefits.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the U.S. Senate runoff in North Carolina tackled issues including the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and job loss during a debate at the WRAL studios in Raleigh on Thursday.

Lexington attorney Cal Cunningham stressed holding BP to a high standard and lifting the cap on penalties for incidents like the oil spill.

Marshall and his opponent, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, said they would not support drilling off the coast of North Carolina.

Marshall said she also wanted short-term answers for the unemployed, including extending unemployment benefits.

"We need to make sure the federal government steps in and stops the job losses," she said.

Both candidates spoke out against the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for gays in the military.

They also agreed on immigration issues. "We can't deport out way out of it," Cunningham said.

It was the first one-on-one debate between the two since they advanced to the runoff following the May 4 primary. Marshall finished first and Cunningham second.

The candidates differed on two issues.

Cunningham attacked Marshall saying she would raise the Social Security retirement age. She disputed his statements saying "I do not support raising it."

Marshall retaliated claiming Cunningham has accepted more than $100,000 from Washington insiders.

Cunningham denied her claims, stressing his independence. "I am going to take the same sense of independence to Washington," he said.

Early voting has begun for the June 22 runoff. The winner takes on Republican incumbent Richard Burr in November.

The following stations will offer the debate at a later date and time:

  • WSOC will air it Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
  • WRAZ will air it Sunday at 3:30 p.m.


Adam Owens, Reporter
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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