The most confusing wing of a political party is the North Carolina Democratic Party.
Why do I say that?
Because they have yet to realize that they need to capitalize on their party's momentum and get Richard Burr out of the United States Senate. You may remember in my last blog post when I mentioned that Mike McIntyre was the party's best known potential candidate? Well, he decided to decline to run today. That's right, a man who polled within 5 points of the incumbent with a full 16 months before the election decided NOT to run.
In fact, the primary is in 10 months and there are TWO announced Democratic candidates, neither of whom are considered serious candidates or have even held elected office. The list of Democrats who have declined to run pretty much includes almost every prominent Democrat in the state. Former State Senator Cal Cunningham, State Senator (and current chair of the Duke University Board of Trustees) Dan Blue, Chapel Hill mayor Kevin Foy and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall are the only prominent Democrats who have yet to make a decision.
Here are some facts about these candidates:
- Marshall and Blue have already made failed attempts at the Democratic NOMINATION for the Senate.
- Recent polls have Burr ahead of Marshall 43%-35%
- Foy may be hurt by his public opposition to gun control and being mayor of the city that Sen. Jesse Helms once said a wall should be built around in order to contain its liberalism.
- There's nothing too bad about Cunningham: He left the North Carolina Senate in 2002 because of partisan redistricting, joined the military and served two active duty tours in Iraq. He served as a lawyer and was deployed to serve as legal counsel. He's also only 35. The downside is that he has only two years of political experience, which could prove to be a non-factor given that the last Democratic senator to occupy Burr's seat had no experience whatsoever. Before knowing anything about his political beliefs, he looks like the most viable remaining candidate IF he can gain name recognition. The most recent poll that pairs him with Burr has him losing 46%-27%. Granted this poll was done in February but I can't see much of a change happening since then.
Note that none of these people have announced yet, they are merely doing what McIntyre was doing prior to today, "considering." They could very well turn the opportunity down and continue in their current careers.
How vulnerable is Richard Burr? A recent poll done by Public Policy Polling showed that only 34% of North Carolinians approve of the job that Burr is doing with 35% disapproving and the rest unsure. In a race between Burr and a "Democratic opponent," the Democrat leads 41%-38%.
Of course, it's worth mentioning that Kay Hagan similarly denied plans to run against Elizabeth Dole before ultimately announcing her candidacy on October 30, 2007. In fact, it took a whole 3 and a half weeks for Hagan to change her mind. Maybe the prominent North Carolina Democrats playing the same game this time. If they are then they are wasting valuable fundraising time and time to gain more name recognition. In a hotly contested race, time is valuable. A concept seemingly lost on the North Carolina Democrats.
Been a busy week for me, I'll try to get the South Carolina/Florida edition of "Off to the Races!" up by the end of the week. Let me know what you think of the circumstances surrounding the North Carolina Senate race. Maybe I'm just confused because I decided to write a blog entry at midnight.