North Carolina: Cunningham Makes Senate Bid Official

Posted December 7, 2009 at 6:22pm

Former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) on Monday morning officially joined the race against Sen. Richard Burr (R) in 2010.

“Right now, more than ever, the people of North Carolina need someone to fight for them against special interests gaming the system at the expense of taxpayers and small businesses,— said Cunningham, a lawyer who also served in the Iraq War.

Cunningham originally passed on the Senate race last month citing the desire to spend more time with his family. But after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made a renewed push to recruit him, word leaked out last week that Cunningham had reversed course on the Senate race.

Cunningham, popular among progressives in the Tar Heel State, wasted little time in attacking Burr in his announcement Monday, calling the first-term Senator “a textbook example of what’s wrong in Washington.—

Despite the fact that he’s the choice of national party, Cunningham will not have a clear path to the Democratic nomination.

North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) and attorney Kenneth Lewis (D) are also in the race. Marshall ran in the 2002 open-seat Senate race but finished a disappointing third in the primary.

DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz praised Cunningham’s entry into the race.

“Cal Cunningham served with distinction in Iraq; has a record of cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse; and is already building an exciting grass-roots coalition on the ground in North Carolina,— Schultz said.

“First he was in, and then he was out, and now he’s back in. He’s in this election because Washington wants to choose North Carolina’s Democratic Senate nominee,— said Marshall campaign adviser Thomas Mills.

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Colin Reed said Cunningham “sudden change of heart regarding a Senate run certainly raises questions about the promises he received from the Democrat establishment in Washington during the last month.—