Run, Elaine, Run!

News over at the News & Observer from yesterday shows that Elaine Marshall is seriously considering a Senate run against Richard Burr, and honestly, I believe Elaine Marshall is the best possible candidate to take down Burr in 2010.

I met Elaine Marshall at a Democratic event early last year, and let me tell you, she is like no other politician I know of....

More beyond the break.

Her down-to-earth, honest, and true style and attitude reflects millions of North Carolinians. When you talk to Elaine Marshall, you know you're talking to Elaine Marshall herself, and not some political act. Sadly, you can't say that about too many politicians, especially those in Washington. I think that's something any North Carolinian will find welcome and refreshing in a political arena that has become all about putting on political shows for your political base.

Not only that, but Elaine Marshall has been elected to statewide office four times since 1996. She's tested. Perhaps not at the federal level, but the fact that she was the first woman elected statewide, I think, counts for something. Had Marshall never ran and defeated Richard Petty in 1996, would we have our first-ever female governor right now? Would we have Kay Hagan in the Senate? Would we even have had Elizabeth Dole?

That's not to say gender should matter, because I think we can all agree it shouldn't, but at the same time, it's refreshing to see faces in power that better reflect the makeup of America at large (and I say that as a white male).

Time is ticking. It's nearly August, and as we all know, the money necessary to mount a campaign in North Carolina makes it necessary for candidates to start early. We can't afford to let Richard Burr amass a warchest while we wait for a major candidate to enter the race. That's why I'm writing this post, why I've started a Draft Elaine blog, and why I think North Carolinians should join the Draft Elaine Facebook Group to show Elaine Marshall that we're watching, we see she's interested, and we believe she can take down Richard Burr in 2010.

That said, I know there's a primary ahead, and I know there's a diverse group here on BlueNC who may have other candidates in mind. I welcome the primary debate, and I welcome the diverse opinions to come. But I think all of us here can agree that North Carolina doesn't need another six years of Richard Burr in Washington.

After all, history is on our side. No incumbent has held Burr's seat for a second term since Sam Ervin was re-elected in 1968. North Carolina needs to keep that tradition alive for just one more election cycle, don't you think?


I could get behind Elaine

When I think of who matches up well against Burr, Marshall looks pretty darn good to me. I suspect she's the person he'd least like to see on the ballot in November 2010.

Elaine Marshall

I don't know Elaine Marshall so I can't comment on her authenticity. However, if you believe that she is just not some political act then you are naive at best. Politicians must be as many things as they can be to as many people as possible. Being authentic is part of her "act". They are all acting all of the time to convince others that they are who they say they are (we do it too!!). Sometimes a "performance" is sincere sometimes it is not. Knowing the difference is an anti-dote to political cynicism.

I think we'll see

several well-funded, issue-oriented, positive campaigns this primary. All of the folks being mentioned are first-class intellects, and I for one can't wait to watch them play off each other!

That said, Our Senate Nominee

will be headlining the ticket next year; a ticket that will include more than a few vulnerable democratic legislators down-ballot.

Following this rocky session, 2010 is shaping up to be a difficult year for Raleigh personalities.

Why do you feel that Elaine would be the best candidate for the top of the Democratic ticket?


For a few basic reasons:

1) Elaine has expressed serious interest. She's the only major Democratic politician in the state to do so. Where others have declined, she's looking further. We need a dedicated candidate, and it seems like Elaine is very serious about this.

2) Elaine is tested. She's won four statewide elections. Sure, Secretary of State is very different from a U.S. Senate race, but you can't discount the fact that she's won - most recently with 57 percent of the vote - in a state that is lean red.

3) Have you met Elaine? I have, and she's the most likable politician I've ever met. She connects with the average person in a way that most politicians have difficultly achieving. She seems like a real, honest person that I think will appeal to North Carolinians.

4) Admittedly, her issue stances are rather obscure and unknown, given she's in a non-legislative/politically executive position at the moment, but I do find it encouraging that she has extensive political experience, particularly in Democratic organizations (and I say that as a liberal independent). Any other candidate, with the exception of a member of the U.S. House delegation from NC, is going to have the same lack of extensive issue position background, so as long as the candidate contrasts with Burr on the key issues, I don't believe this will be a particular issues for Democrats who want to see a fresh face representing North Carolina alongside Kay Hagan.

I have met the Secretary

And I agree, she's a remarkable person. You'll be hard pressed to find anybody in Democratic circles who thinks otherwise. That said, let's project ourselves sixteen months into the future and take a look at that ballot that Elaine Marshall is at the top of.

Now, imagine that you are a Democratic State House Rep in a red leaning district. Take your pick of any of the Reps from this lovely Civitas map. Crucial to their retention of those swing seats is a headliner who will do three things:

1. Excite the base and get as many of those crucial new Obama voters back to the polls.
2. Not give the republicans a red-letter reason to drive to the polls to defend Richard Burr.
3. is a doozy: Perhaps the biggest x-factor will be those independents who will REALLY, REALLY be concerned about maintaining the present balance of power; who will, in short, be reluctant to put another Democrat in the US Senate, (unless it's somebody they feel they just can't pass up). Our headliner has to show a certain independence and not freak out the skittish middle.

So again, you're a vulnerable Democrat. The preservation of your seat is crucial to the maintenance of Democratic control of the legislature. You know that Republican GOTV is coming to get you if your headliner is a lightning rod or a softie. With those criteria in mind, tell me why Elaine Marshall is the strongest candidate in what looks to be a Republican pendulum year.

As an addendum, here's the mission statement of the Secretary of State's office, just so we're clear as to what Secretary Marshall's responsibilities have been during her tenure:

To serve and protect citizens, the business community and governmental agencies by facilitating business activities, by providing accurate and timely information and by preserving documents and records.