Local Politics

Democrats present united front for Senate race

Posted June 23, 2010 4:24 p.m. EDT
Updated June 23, 2010 6:30 p.m. EDT

— Two vanquished Democrats joined North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall Wednesday to present a united front for the party as the race for the U.S. Senate begins in earnest.

Marshall defeated former state Sen. Cal Cunningham in a Tuesday runoff to claim the Democratic nomination and will face Republican Sen. Richard Burr in the November general election.

Cunningham and Durham attorney Ken Lewis, who finished third in the May primary and later became Marshall's campaign chairman, joined forces in a unity rally Wednesday to generate momentum for the fall campaign.

"If anyone has any question about the grit and the determination and the hard work of Ms. Marshall, take it from me, she's tough," Cunningham said with a laugh.

Marshall told cheering supporters how the Democrats share a bond with trying to help the people of North Carolina.

"We understand their hopes and their dreams. We also understand their frustrations," she said. "It is time that Washington gets its priorities straight."

Burr said he and Marshall have vastly different ideas, giving North Carolinians a clear-cut choice in November. He said he would run on his record of less spending, smaller government and lower taxes.

"I think that the voters of North Carolina are the ones that will make a decision which candidate best reflects their vision of where America goes," Burr said.

Burr, Marshall and Libertarian Senate candidate Michael Beitler will meet in Wilmington Saturday for a candidates forum at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Bar Association.

Watch the Senate candidates forum live on WRAL.com at 11 a.m. Saturday. The form also will air on WRAL-TV at 1 p.m. Sunday.