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Tags: Cal Cunningham

Money Well Spent



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My old colleague Greg Giroux of Congressional Quarterly notes the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent $1.2 million to help out Arlen Specter and $193,000 to help out Cal Cunningham, who lost the North Carolina primary. They also spent $242,000 to help Blanche Lincoln, who won her primary.

Tags: Arlen Specter , Blanche Lincoln , Cal Cunningham

Today’s Decisions in Utah and North Carolina



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Elsewhere on primary/runoff day . . .

For all intents and purposes, Utah Republicans pick their state’s next senator today, between Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater; polling indicates a Bridgewater lead. The winner takes on Democrat Sam Granato and his $23,388 cash-on-hand.

In North Carolina, a hard-fought and pretty close Democratic Senate primary comes to an end; either Elaine Marshall or Cal Cunningham will take on incumbent Republican Richard Burr. If you’re a Burr fan, you probably prefer Cunningham, but the closest either Democrat has gotten so far is 7 percentage points.

Tags: Cal Cunningham , Elaine Marshall , Mike Lee , Tim Bridgewater

North Carolinians to Democratic Senate Candidates: Who Are You Again?



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In North Carolina, the thrill is gone:

Both Elaine Marshall and Cal Cunningham have lost name recognition during their run-off campaign for the Democratic Senate nomination. Compared to a poll taken just one week following the primary election, both Marshall and Cunningham’s popularity and recognition across the state have decreased, especially in the Charlotte area and western North Carolina.

Seventy-four percent of voters in North Carolina are unsure of their opinion of Cunningham and 62 percent of Marshall. This is an increase from 66 and 56 percent respectively in the week following the primary election. Voter turnout is typically lower in run-off elections as voter interest decreases.

The pollster finds incumbent Republican senator Richard Burr has “widened his lead against both Marshall and Cunningham, edging over Marshall 46–39 and Cunningham 46–35.” Topping out at 46 percent is usually mildly ominous for an incumbent, but it looks like either Democrat will need a surge to make this a real race.

Tags: Cal Cunningham , Elaine Marshall , Richard Burr

Some Chilly Poll Numbers in North Carolina Generate a Burr



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A little while back, after I noted that Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican, had “meh” approval ratings but seemed to lead healthily in any head-to-head matchups with Democrats, a reader in Raleigh wrote in:

Regarding your comment about Richard Burr’s “Meh” approval ratings, may I suggest you dig a bit deeper. I admit I am a big Richard Burr fan. I have met him a few times and family members are in a position to know what many Democrats think of his effectiveness.

The issue with Sen. Burr’s approvals are that many people have no opinion (vs. negatives). The reason is that he focuses on his job and North Carolina. Almost uniformly, Mr. Burr is considered a very hard working senator who has one goal – to help his state and constituents. Just ask Mr. Bowles, who has all but endorsed him.

Sen. Burr’s Rasmussen shares have been above 50% for over three weeks now as he has gone on the air. In my humble opinion there is every reason to expect them to remain there. Richard is no Liddy Dole!

I think this reader is largely right, but Public Policy Polling finds his lead shrinking:

Burr is now in a near tie with Elaine Marshall and barely ahead of Cal Cunningham following the May 4 primary. Marshall now trails Burr only 43-42, versus 43-37 last month. Cunningham lags 44-39 after losing 43-35 in April. Marshall does slightly better with Democrats and independents and about the same with Republicans as Cunningham. North Carolina voters’ opinions of how Burr is handling his job inched upward from a negative 32-41 in early April to 37-40 now.

Tags: Cal Cunningham , Elaine Marshall , Richard Burr

Democrats Just Weren’t That Into Their Primaries Yesterday



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There are certain states where I’m not surprised that Democratic turnout is lower than Republican turnout; in Indiana, there was a competitive GOP Senate primary and none on the Democratic side. But even with that in mind, the turnout differences in yesterday’s primaries were pretty stark, compared to the 2006 numbers.

Reid Wilson lays out the comparison:

Just 663K OH voters cast ballots in the competitive primary between LG Lee Fisher (D) and Sec/State Jennifer Brunner (D). That number is lower than the 872K voters who turned out in ‘06, when neither Gov. Ted Strickland (D) nor Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) faced primary opponents.

Only 425K voters turned out to pick a nominee against Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). The 14.4% turnout was smaller than the 444K voters — or 18% of all registered Dem voters — who turned out in ‘04, when Gov. Mike Easley (D) faced only a gadfly candidate in his bid to be renominated for a second term.

And in IN, just 204K Hoosiers voted for Dem House candidates, far fewer than the 357K who turned out in ‘02 and the 304K who turned out in ‘06.

By contrast, GOP turnout was up almost across the board. 373K people voted in Burr’s uncompetitive primary, nearly 9% higher than the 343K who voted in the equally non-competitive primary in ‘04. Turnout in House races in IN rose 14.6% from ‘06, fueled by the competitive Senate primary, which attracted 550K voters. And 728K voters cast ballots for a GOP Sec/State nominee in Ohio, the highest-ranking statewide election with a primary; in ‘06, just 444K voters cast ballots in that race.

One other thing I would note: Jennifer Brunner, Lee Fisher, Cal Cunningham, Elaine Marshall, the Democrats running for House in Indiana . . . These are not exactly whirling dervishes of raw political charisma. Neither the North Carolina nor the Ohio primaries were clashes of the titans on par with, say, Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont. Yes, some jabs were thrown, but when the candidates are standard-issue and the policy differences are minor, why should these states’ Democrats turn out?

Tags: 2010 , Cal Cunningham , Elaine Marshall , Lee Fisher

Better a Burr in the Saddle Than Under It



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Tomorrow is primary day in North Carolina, and as in Ohio, most of the drama is on the Democratic side. GOP senator Richard Burr represents a weird case of an incumbent with genuinely “meh” approval ratings who looks pretty safe in head-to-head matchups; with Democratic opportunities to knock off Republican senators few and far between, the DSCC is clearly hoping they can jump-start some momentum in this state.

In the Democratic Senate primary, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall leads the polls over former state senator Cal Cunningham and attorney Ken Lewis. But if no candidate win 40 percent of the vote – a serious possibility if the polls are right – there will be a runoff June 22.

There are crowded GOP primaries against Democratic Reps. Larry Kissell and Heath Shuler. With no standout GOP opponents, the reelection prospects of the pair will depend largely on voter mood heading into November.

Tags: Cal Cunningham , Elaine Marshall , Heath Shuler , Ken Lewis , Larry Kissell , Richard Burr

I Guess Cal Cunningham’s Work Is Done



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Catching a bit of North Carolina television, Scott Lincicome notices Democrat Cal Cunningham pledging to “fight a war” against “unfair trade deals with China.”

Cunningham hopes to be the Democratic nominee against Sen. Richard Burr.

Scott observes:

There’s one rather big problem with this big promise: the United States has no trade “deals” with China, and we have no plans to enter into any such agreements. Indeed, China is one of the top targets of U.S. trade protection (through trade remedies proceedings), and our current president has imposed prohibitive tariffs on Chinese tires and routinely criticizes the country’s currency policies. The only thing even remotely close to a “trade deal with China” would, I guess, be the Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) legislation passed back in 2000 to cement China’s accession to the WTO (and to give the US the benefits of China’s new WTO market access commitments). But PNTR was a unilateral U.S. action, not an “agreement with China.”

Cunningham will also fight a war against underwear gnomes, manbearpig, the Loch Ness Monster, and the terror threat from the Islamic Republic of Kamistan.

Tags: Cal Cunningham , North Carolina

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