I’ve read BlueNC a lot, but haven’t posted much at all. But I’ve seen a serious gap in discussion here of the 2008 U.S. Senate race.
Rep. Brad Miller is great – don’t get me wrong. But I don’t understand why we haven’t seen more of an outcry for Roy Cooper to throw his hat into the U.S. Senate against Liddy Dole in 2008.
Again, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I think Miller would be great. And I know that Cooper has said he’s running for AG again in 2008. But we all know that such promises can be adapted/ignored if plans change. And the 2008 Senate race might be a good time for Coop to reconsider.
Consider the resume: a well-known prosecutor who’s won two statewide races for attorney general. As a tough-on-crime attorney general, Cooper is in the best possible position for a federal candidate in the South. Assuming that Gov. Easley isn’t willing to run, Cooper is the only potential Senate candidate who’s won statewide more than once – including Dole herself.
Throw on top of this the attention and headlines he’s grabbed in dealing with the Duke lacrosse case. He’s quickly established a national profile for himself – one that would set his name recognition far above any other conceivable Senate candidate and that could set up a national fundraising presence.
Consider the praise from Tom Campbell’s conservative-leaning NC Spin, which practically swooned over Cooper’s handling of the lax case:
“We watched Roy Cooper come of age during his press conference announcing the conclusions of his department’s investigation. He refused to duck from sensitive subjects and announced obvious conclusions, took a bold stance in declaring innocence, and deftly handled a national media eager to point out inconsistencies or to get him to make statements he might later wish to retract. He sounded just the right tone and had the right words throughout the event, as befitting a senior leader of our state.
Years from now we will look back at this event and realize this was a turning point for our Attorney General. It almost assures his re-election in 2008, but also sets the stage for a bigger role in future days.”
From a pure electability and name recognition standpoint, this could’ve been Cooper’s version of Easley’s USA Today moment (Easley’s title as one of the nation’s “top drug busters” helped fuel the statewide recognition that set the stage for his U.S. Senate run, and terms as attorney general and governor). He’s getting a ton of attention – from 60 Minutes and everywhere else.
As I said, I’ve got no dog in the 2008 Senate fight. I’m just curious as to why Cooper hasn’t earned more discussion as a potential opponent to a vulnerable Dole.
Front-paged by Anglico