Local News

Edwards' Impact On Local Races Could Be 'A Wash'

Posted July 6, 2004 8:22 a.m. EDT

— Local political pundits feel John Edwards' new role in the presidential election could impact races across the state.

Republicans, of course, say a Kerry-Edwards ticket actually will help Republicans in local races. The Democrats, naturally, think they are the ones who will gain.

Barbara Allen, chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, said there are "big" elections in the state this year and that a vice presidential candidate from Raleigh can sway those local races.

"I think it will help get younger voters to the polls, swing voters to the polls, and I know the African-American and Hispanic community like John very much," Allen said. "So the overall effect will be tremendous."

Senate candidate Erskine Bowles said he was thrilled.

"Our critical issues like job creation, a tobacco buyout, unfair competition from illegal foreign trade and our struggling rural economy will be at the forefront," said Bowles, who is seeking to replace Edwards in the Senate.

But Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Vinroot said his party has more to gain. Vinroot's campaign manager said: "This move by the Democrats will energize Republicans in North Carolina, more to the polls in November."

Jack Hawke, the former chairman of the state Republican party, said Edwards could add momentum to all voters.

"It's about a wash," Hawke said. "It will energize those who know him and those who like him. It may also energize those who don't like him, who say: 'Wait a minute. He got elected (as senator) and then deserted us.'"

Republican Senate candidate Richard Burr released a statement late Tuesday. He said his campaign received a lot of calls following the Edwards announcement. He said Republicans and Democrats who do not support Edwards are eager to help with his run for Senate.