US Senate primary endorsement thread

With the big debate among US Senate Democratic hopefuls starting at 7:30 tonight, and early voting opening tomorrow, it's getting down to crunch time. Use this thread to say whom you're voting for and why.


Debate tonight among 5 candidates

League of Women Voters of North Carolina

Date: April 14, 2010
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm live
Place: NBC17 and other NBC stations around the state
streaming live at

Without a doubt

Cal Cunningham!!!!

So is the whole family. And most everyone that I know.

Good luck to all the candidates, but I encourage you all to do the same and choose Cal. And let's take it to Burr in the general.

Cal Cunningham

He was the first candidate to offer a comprehensive, common sense solution to the unemployment crisis facing North Carolina.

His "Voice of North Carolina" series has proven his interest in listening to the stories of North Carolinians and developing strong, smart solutions to address our other most important issues. Among them: strengthening our schools and improving public education, green energy development that will create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reforming arcane, harmful trade deals that cut taxes for big business and helps them ship North Carolina jobs over seas.

Cal wants to end the disastrous war in Iraq, where he served our country admirably.

In the Senate, Cal would like to work with progressive leaders such as Tom Harkin and Tom Udall to reform the filibuster, so that legislation that will positively impact the lives of all Americans cannot be thwarted and blocked by the anonymous actions of one single Senator.

Cal has the endorsement of the North Carolina Association of Educators, the Teamsters Union, the Council for a Liveable World and Gen. Wesley Clark -- among others.

Cal has galvanized the young folks across our state to remain engaged and make a difference. His policies are clear and concise -- they make sense to voters of all ages, gender and backgrounds. Voters who have come to know Cal see him and his vision as one of practical, positive change to the ever worsening status quo; Cal is committed to passing legislation that improves the lives of North Carolinians, breaks up the partisan gridlock of the current U.S. Congress and solves the most pressing issues of our day.

He is grounded in the present and has an eye towards our future. One where our kids can enjoy the same liberties and freedom that we currently enjoy, but with a better quality of life grounded in greater access and security in health care, cleaner, cheaper energy, a world more at peace than at war and both the education and employment opportunities that will make out state and country competitive in our increasingly global economy.

I believe in better North Carolina. That's why I believe in Cal Cunningham.

-- A liberal originally from Yadkin County. Did I just blow your mind?

Secretary of State & former state Senator Elaine Marshall

I'm a bit surprised still to find myself saying that, having leaned towards the Cal camp early on & having voted for him in all the BlueNC polls.

2 key reasons are viability in the polls, and stances on gay rights.

Public Policy Polling results from mid March:

"Burr vs. Cunningham - Burr (R) 43% Cunningham (D) 32% - Public Policy Polling - 3/12-3/15 878 LV
Burr vs. Lewis - Burr (R) 43% Lewis (D) 32% - Public Policy Polling - 3/12-3/15 878 LV
Burr vs. Marshall Burr (R) 41% - Marshall (D) 36% Public Policy Polling - 3/12-3/15 878 LV"

Public Policy Polling results from yesterday:

61% of primary voters have no opinion about Marshall. For Lewis that's 80% and for Cunningham it's 85%

Early on I expected that Cunningham would be in the lead by the time we got to the day before early voting starts, but that prediction hasn't bared out. And in 2008 Elaine got more votes in our state than did Obama, Perdue, or Hagan, & others so she’s got some bipartisan name recognition going for her, and less of a hurdle to overcome with the unknowns.

Of course viability in the polls is secondary to me on the issues. And while I care about many, there is one issue in politics that inordinately and personally affects me. Having just celebrated my 1 year anniversary of being married last month (making it 7 years together total) and then filing my taxes separately this month really got to me. Ken Lewis says some nice things about LGBT couples, but no mention of repealing DOMA, and Cal Cunningham's issue section has no mention of anything to do with LGBT people (I know he support DADT repeal & I'd be happy to vote for Cal or Ken should they make it to November), but right now I have to vote Elaine unless I see some big changes soon. And Elaine frames the DOMA repeal issue in a way that its hard for the right to get disagree with in terms of getting big government out of our lives.

Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – Elaine believes that if people are willing to serve, then we should honor them. Signing up to join the United States military is one of the most courageous things anyone can do, and as U.S. Senator she would fully support the repeal of this outdated policy. If someone is willing to fight for our country, we should not ask them to lie about who they are.

Doing away with the “Defense of Marriage Act” – Elaine believes it is not the Federal government’s job to discriminate against anybody including when it comes to sexual orientation. As U.S. Senator, Elaine would support the repeal of DOMA and fight to restore the idea of equality for all Americans.

Enacting the “Employment Non-Discrimination Act
” – Elaine believes that all Americans have the right to live and work without fear of being themselves. As U.S. Senator, Elaine would support the passing of ENDA to end LGBT discrimination.

Enacting the “United American Families Act” – Elaine believes that all consenting partners deserve the right to be with one another. As U.S. Senator, Elaine would support the enactment of UAFA legislation, which would allow all bi-national married couples the same immigration rights extended to heterosexual couples.

Respect for all Americans – Elaine understands that many of these issues can be contentious and used by politicians to divide people. As U.S. Senator, Elaine will not only fight to give equality to all Americans, but will strive to keep the debate civil and honest and not allow politicians to demagogue Americans for political gain.

And of course the symbolism of having a woman who has broken glass ceilings as the first woman elected to a statewide executive office in North Carolina history will make a nice juxtaposition against Burr who voted against the anti-rape amendment and for keeping domestic violence as a pre-existing condition.

But come May 5th, I plan to support whoever has won, and hope to see the best elements and supporters of all the campaigns come together to kick Burr out of office in November.

Exactly, Jake

That pretty much says it all. Good post.

Elaine, all the way

She's been leading the charge on everything from the public option to EFCA. With Elaine, you always know where she stands, and she stands with progressives!

I'm proud to work for Elaine Marshall for Senate

Proud to work for Elaine Marshall

Definitely Cal Cunningham

We have some great candidates in this race, but Cal stands out from the pack; he combines progressive stands on the issues, small-town North Carolina sensibilities, and a compelling personal story that North Carolinians will respond to.

Growing up in North Carolina, I'm ready for this state to elect another common-sense progressive to prove that 2006 and 2008 were not aberrations, but were signals that North Carolina is ready to elect leaders who will be on their side, making this state a better place to be. Cal Cunningham will be a strong voice for us, to make our country work better again, towards a more perfect union. That's why I've been involved in Cal's Campaign: he'll bring be another voice for a U.S. Senate that takes its responsibility to the public seriously and bears it honorably.


It's between Lewis and Marshall. I have been put off by the Cunningham camp. The whole Chatham county courthouse fire... that made me a little nauseous and honestly, rekindled the bad taste of John Edwards in my mouth. Sorry, but that's my two cents.

Same here

We had a candidate forum in Chapel Hill last night, and while I did not come away with clarity about whom to vote for yet, I did leave with strong feelings about who is not going to be my candidate of choice. Frankly, Cal was disappointing in his answers, especially on foreign policy and immigration reform, and frequently lapsed into his stump speech, which we have heard a million times by now, instead of answering the questions. One conclusion I came away with, and which was echoed by several of the other attendees, is that Cal is NOT a progressive candidate.

Cal greatly misjudged the audience in Chapel Hill -- he did not do his homework, that was clear. Stock answers and personal ancedotes don't fly in our neck of the woods where people tend to be very well informed on most major issues and ask to-the-point questions and expect answers of substance. While none of the candidates added significantly to what is already on their websites or in their stump speeches, I think Cal actually hurt his brand in this forum in Chapel Hill.

Personally, I also find his theatrical tone and hand gesturing annoying when he launches into speechifying. Whoever advises him on his stage presence needs to get him to tone down. Only Larry Linnie was more irritating with his body language.

That said, I need to add that I am all too aware that the real reason any of them are running is to defeat Burr. And with the Republican candidate Larry Linnie (the only Republican candidate present) clearly drawing the line between what separates Democrats and Republicans on major issues, it could not have been more obvious what's at stake in this election.

The Republican world view is frightening in its deliberate blindness to reality and anything resembling evidence-based analysis and its blatant disregard for justice and equality for people anywhere. They are so wedded to their ideology that they would rather bankrupt the country, trash the planet, destroy public education, do away with all social safety nets, and deny the role of government as watchdog and referee between big corporations and ordinary people than to yield one inch to facts and common sense.

Compared to that, all the Democratic candidates looked mighty good.

Resistance is Fertile

The Republican world view is

The Republican world view is frightening in its deliberate blindness to reality and anything resembling evidence-based analysis and its blatant disregard for justice and equality for people anywhere. They are so wedded to their ideology that they would rather bankrupt the country, trash the planet, destroy public education, do away with all social safety nets, and deny the role of government as watchdog and referee between big corporations and ordinary people than to yield one inch to facts and common sense.

That belongs in a stump speech.

A Good Watchdog Needs a Master

deny the role of government as watchdog and referee

Some of the so-called "progressive" posts I read are nearly as scary and uninformed as any other post one can read elsewhere.

Government is and always has been an instrument of coercion. I've got a "watchdog" here at my house, and he knows better than to ignore his master, ME! This isn't what We the People have today. The role of government is simply to secure our liberty, not to run around like a mangy untrained vagrant mut without guidance or leadership provided by a master. And as far as the "social safety nets", well they're looking more and more like decaying hammocks each and every day. A true "safety net" is one's neighbors, friends, and family, perhaps even a savings account, if one is truly enlightened. The so-called "referee" is a jury of your peers, not a professional politician.

Some of these posts look like they come straight out of the classrooms of government controlled compulsory education. The People are doomed!


"As the sun rose on Pittsboro this morning, I took my campaign out of its way to stop for a short meeting with Mayor Voller. I went because I care."
1. Cunningham was actually on his way to Fayetteville
2. He showed no concern for the tornado victims in his own county - I never heard a word from him about this. That makes me think he cares about covering the Chatham area (Triangle area) in an effort to garner more votes because he doesn't, according to polls, have the name recognition in the Triangle area.
3. I've heard him use the line "as the sun rose over (fill in the blank)" too many times therefore he's coming off insincere in my book(just a photo opportunity) I'm pretty sure he will use the sun rose line tonight at the debate.

PPP poll

Burr approval down
Richard Burr's approval numbers this month are the worst they've been since PPP started tracking it with 41% of voters in the state disapproving of him to only 32% who think he's doing a good job. Burr nevertheless continues to lead his Democratic opponents by 6-8 points.

Burr's standing is largely a function of falling favor from independents, reflecting their general disgust with politicians of both parties. 43% of them give Burr poor marks to just 31% who feel he's doing a good job. Republicans continue to be a little lukewarm toward him as well, with 57% expressing approval.

Despite Burr's bad numbers he continues to be favored for reelection this fall, leading Elaine Marshall 43-37 and Cal Cunningham and Ken Lewis by 43-35 margins. In a finding that nicely summarizes the current strange state of politics, Burr holds a 20-27 point lead against each of his opponents with independent voters even though a plurality of them disapprove of him. They might not like Burr but they like the idea of another Democratic Senator even less.

With uncertainty about who the party's nominee will end up being, there continue to be a lot more undecided Democrats than Republicans. That suggests this race could tighten up further once the party is unified around a candidate.

Burr is clearly the most vulnerable Republican running for reelection this year, but Democratic incumbents went undefeated in their party's strong election years of 2006 and 2008 and the same could prove to be true for GOP Senators this year. But Burr's status does virtually ensure this race will draw a lot of national attention. So far the polling has closely mirrored what we saw for Elizabeth Dole in 2008. What we find once the nominees are set will give us a clearer idea of whether we're headed for a repeat performance in 2010.

Said another way

Voters will be placing a bet. Their choices? The Do-Nothing Burr choice versus the Do-Something Democratic choice.

If I were betting, I'd say a majority of North Carolina voters will turn out for the latter. That's what they did in 2008 when they showed Liddy the door. And I'm expecting that to happen with Do Nothing Dick. He has exactly the same negatives as Dole had: an invisible, irrelevant, self-serving politician who's been in Washington too long.

Something that needs to be watched out for..

You and I and a great many like-minded individuals most certainly think as you are saying here, James. But, we need to be mindful of a number of things against whoever runs against "No Show".

First, this is an off-year election and I don't have to remind you of how the "party in power" usually loses seats in those elections.

Second, the Obama coat-strings will not be attached in this upcoming election and although Liddy Dole proved herself to be a jerk and although she went with that devastating ad that ended up defeating her, we do not have that advantage in Nov. 2010. Regardless who the democatic candidate is that will be charged with defeating "No Show", they face a somewhat uphill battle and they will have to not only garner up grassroots efforts to get the vote out for her/him but will have to overcome the incumbency of Burr AND the money the opposition will most certainly put into this. We here can be certain that Elaine or Cal or Ken are the better candidate and would serve us FAR better here in NC, but it's more than's about good campaigning and great grassroots efforts and, of course, bucks.

Burr is a joke, has been a joke, will be a joke. We know that. But, the repugs will have the advantage save something disasterous happening with them. It will take an effort strong as three rows of onions to defeat him.

For me, that's Elaine Marshall. Regardless, I will support whoever is the democratic choice after the primary.

32%(R) vs 25%(D)

41% of voters in the state disapproving of him to only 32% who think he's doing a good job. Burr nevertheless continues to lead his Democratic opponents by 6-8 points.

The only thing the polls show; how hard it is for anyone to get excited about another professional Republocrat politician.

After the primaries, when there is only one

democrat to vote for, the numbers will be very different! All dems will get behind the democratic choice and then we'll talk about numbers.

Excellent point, Mo

you are correct...can't wait to see the polls after the primary...

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


When the candidates are by and large all good, I take the words of people that I trust, and a majority of these people like Cal.

Plus, I think there is an "it" factor, and I think Cal has that as well.

That's my vote.

I'm ready to declare

The war question is the deciding factor for me. I don't believe Afghanistan is a place we should be for one more second. Elaine Marshall sees the futility of fighting a "place" when the enemy is fluid, moving at will across borders at any time. Karzai is corrupt and possibly crazy and there is no one who can replace him in the foreseeable future. We do not need to spend our resources chasing people around in a country that sees us as invaders.

Good choice

Wise person. Time to use our money more wisely, in my opinion.

Another Fools Errand

I don't believe Afghanistan is a place we should be for one more second.



It's a tough choice.

Cal seems like the best "politician", but I think he comes off as a little greasy and that may not be the best thing in November. He also hasn't told me anything new. I don't trust him to not go off to Washington and become a celebrity.

I like Elaine Marshall, but I'm not sure she is best prepared for an election campaign. She seems like a really nice person, which can be a big liability. I'm not sure she's resilient enough to fend off that nastiness that Burr throws. I bet she'd do really well in the Senate, though.

Ken Lewis has probably the best positions on issues, but I don't think he is prepared to be a senator. I like him too but his inexperience shows, and Burr will attack that, too.

I always feel sorry for the hangers-on that mean well but have no hope.

I won't know who I'll vote for until I pull the lever, or more likely pick up a pen, drop it, pick it up again, and cast my vote.

Taking the fight to Burr

Secretary Marshall has taken the fight to Burr's doorstep, I don't think you have to worry about here pulling her punches.

So Cal

I like all the candidates, but Cal has plans for action in getting things done in the Senate.

There's No Doubt

Elaine Marshall has always been the best candidate in the race, and the debate tonight proved that point.

I'm, quite frankly, not sure what debate you Cal fans were watching. He was terrible. He came off as a generic, boring, unexcitable, stump-speeching politician. That's not what North Carolinians want, nor is it what they need. We need a candidate we can get excited about, a candidate that's tested, a candidate with a solid record, a candidate with deep North Carolina roots and a legacy of service.

Cal Cunningham has none of those things. Elaine Marshall has them all.

Her performance in the debate tonight was a complete success: her personality shined through, and in dealing with someone like Richard Burr who, while a staunch conservative and questionable legislator, presents himself as a sensitive, caring, knowledgeable candidate. Imagine a debate with the generic Cal versus the likable Burr and tell me what kind of results you're going to see. They're not going to be pretty.

Now imagine a debate with the passionate, folksy, down-to-earth Elaine squaring off with compassionate conservative Richard Burr. That's a debate worth watching, and a debate I'm confident Elaine will win with eloquence and ease.

Cal Cunningham is, frankly, a terrible candidate. He's not the progressive in this primary race, he's not a candidate voters can be excited about, and he lacks the experience we need in Washington. Elaine Marshall has 14 years of experience as Secretary of State of North Carolina. Her expertise lies in the financial sector and with regulations -- and with the economy being the chief issue in 2010, we need someone with the knowledge Elaine has on the ticket. This election is not about Iraq. It's not about Afghanistan. It's not about military issues, and that's all Cal has going for him.

Elaine is better equipped, more experienced, by far more progressive, and as down-to-earth as politicians come. We need her on the ticket in November, and North Carolina needs her in the Senate come January.

I proudly support Elaine Marshall for Senate!
Read my blog: Proverbially Penned @

I am admittedly a supporter

I am admittedly a supporter of Elaine Marshall but I have to say that there is no way Cal C. could have been viewed as having done well in this debate. He seemed kind of robotic much like Al Gore came across in his bid for the Presidency. Elaine on the other hand seemed to be very at easy in the setting. Odds are that the field will go from six to two after the primary with a runoff between EM and CC. So maybe we will see another debate in early summer. With some coaching I'm sure CC will improve and if he does end up with the nomination we have to hope he gets some good coaching before he and Burr square off. Elaine should be good to go if she wins the nomination.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Are there any videos of the

Are there any videos of the debate for those that missed it?



Undecided - Cunningham or Marshall - reposting

Frankly, between the two of them I want the one with the best chance of winning in 2010 against Burr. I may be leaning to Cunningham for that reason. BUT, I felt the same way about Kissell and Schuler before they were elected. I don't want to elect another Blue Dog. Is Cunningham a genuine progressive Democrat? If so, I'll vote for him.

Elaine has done the best

in all the Burr match up polls I've seen from 6 months ago to 1 day ago. She also consistently has the highest name recognition. She also got more votes than Obama, or Perdue, or Hagan in 2008 which means bipartisan support. So if you had to pick on who looks to be in the best position to beat Burr. Its Elaine.

This is PPP's poll results from yesterday:

Despite Burr's bad numbers he continues to be favored for reelection this fall, leading Elaine Marshall 43-37 and Cal Cunningham and Ken Lewis by 43-35 margins.

As for who is the most progressive. On mark is what they're willing to say on gay rights. Elaine takes them on in her issues section, but frames them in the strongest possible way (such as getting big government out of our personal lives, what GOP could disagree?). Cal has no mention of gay rights in his issues section, not even mentioning DADT repeal in the national security section.

Elaine and alternate: Ken

I was so so surprised to hear her speech which I thought was very very polished in a nice down home way. She had very clear points to make she connects well with her audience.
Cal did miscalculate his audience in Orange County-offering up his medals from Iraq and his College leadership role at UNC, were not exactly strong suits to lead with in Orange. Maybe in Lumberton. Ken and Elaine seem more interested in the issues, Cal seems more interested in a campaign presence.

And I hope and trust that we will all work like the dickens once we have a candidate, because we will need to. We turned NC Blue once but we all know that it was only through hard work.


Elaine Marshall is the best choice

She has won statewide elections.
You know where she stands.
Has been a lifelong democrat (and certianly not a DINO)
Will NOT owe the corporate dems in DC a damn thing.
Certainly not a good ole boy.
Has the energy, passion and committment to be a great senator.


I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

That depends on your

That depends on your definition of "good ole boy". If you mean it as a derogatory term (someone that works within a tight circle of politically powerful people to advance their own selfish objectives) then no she isn't. But if being a "good ole boy" or in this case a "good ole gal" means someone that can relate to the average North Carolinian and / or work with powerful politicians in an aboveboard honest effort to advance the best interests of the people, then she certainly is.

I'm a moderate Democrat.