Marshall handily defeats Cunningham in US Senate runoff election
Cal Cunningham, a Democratic candidate for US Senate, concedes the Democratic runoff election to Elaine Marshall in Lexington Tuesday night as his family members look on. (Photo by Keith T. Barber)
A humble Cal Cunningham stood before a group of 75 supporters, campaign volunteers and staffers inside the Edward Smith Civic Center in downtown Lexington around 9 p.m. Tuesday night and conceded the US Senate runoff election to Elaine Marshall.
Cunningham said he had contacted Marshall and congratulated her on her victory, and offered Marshall’s campaign his “complete and unequivocal support” to help defeat Republican incumbent Richard Burr this fall.
“I commended her for running an extremely impressive campaign, one that has shown tenacity and grit, [one] that has overcome some tremendous odds that’s shown North Carolinians the type of character that we would expect of our next US Senator,” Cunningham said. “I want you to join me in congratulating her for running a tremendous campaign, for bringing folks together, for being victorious tonight and for taking us one step closer to replacing Richard Burr in the Senate.”
According to unofficial results tallied by the NC State Board of Elections, Marshall, the NC Secretary of State, garnered nearly 60 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s runoff to Cunningham’s 40 percent. Marshall defeated Cunningham, a former state Senator and Bronze Medal recipient, by 9 points in the May 4 primary but failed to gain at least 40 percent of the vote, which led to Tuesday’s runoff.
Marshall attributed her resounding victory to her campaign's message — a message that all North Carolinians could appreciate. Marshall also praised her grassroots organization composed of countless volunteer networks in all 100 North Carolina counties. Marshall said her campaign infrastructure will come in handy as she takes on Burr in the general election.
Many political observers have stated the opinion that Burr is one of the more vulnerable Republicans in this midterm election. A recent survey by Public Policy Polling revealed that more North Carolinians disapprove than approve of the job Burr is doing in the US Senate. Marshall said her campaign will capitalize on voter dissatisfaction.
“It’s a simple matter of putting up contrasts,” Marshall said. “He’s the Senator for big corporations, not the Senator for people.”
In his closing remarks, Cunningham said Marshall won the Democratic nomination due in large part to her “tenacious” style of campaigning and implored his supporters to get behind her campaign to “put this Senate seat back to work for the people of North Carolina.”