State News

Former state senator to challenge Burr

Posted December 7, 2009 10:14 a.m. EST
Updated December 7, 2009 3:23 p.m. EST

— A former state senator says he will challenge U.S. Sen. Richard Burr next year.

Cal Cunningham, who lives in Lexington and practices law in Winston-Salem, said in a statement Monday that he wants to fight against special interests in Washington. The Democrat is an Army veteran who served in Iraq.

“For years, while our families were watching their jobs disappear and their quality of life evaporate, Richard Burr was voting right down the party line with George Bush to bankrupt our country, send our jobs overseas and give away the store to the oil companies and the insurance industry,” Cunningham said.

"Richard Burr has become a textbook example of what’s wrong in Washington. He refuses to accept responsibility and demands no fiscal accountability.”

Cunningham had long been considering a run against Burr but said last month that he would not, saying it was "the wrong race at the wrong time for me and my family."

There was no immediate word on what changed his thinking.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately jumped on Cunningham's switch, saying it raises questions about what promises the Democratic Party made to him.

Democratic sources told WRAL News that Cunningham is getting some key state and national interest that could help him raise the money he will need to boost his name recognition.

Burr is seeking a second term in the Senate in next year's elections. Other Democratic challengers include North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Durham attorney Kenneth Lewis.

Cunningham said he wants to focus on job creation, military communities, schools, and health care costs.