06/23/10 — It will be Marshall vs. Burr

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It will be Marshall vs. Burr

By Staff And Wire Reports
Published in News on June 23, 2010 1:46 PM

Elaine Marshall carried Wayne County en route to her victory over Cal Cunningham for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

The runoff election was held because Ms. Marshall, the North Carolina secretary of state, did not win by a large enough margin in May to secure the nomination.

She did so Tuesday on a light voting day, with 851 Wayne County residents voting for her and 747 voting for Cunningham, giving her a 53 percent to 47 percent margin.

That margin was less than the statewide whomping she gave Cunningham. Across the state, Ms. Marshall carried 60 percent of the vote. She also carried Duplin, Johnston, Greene and Lenoir counties.

She will face incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr in November.

Less than 4 percent of eligible voters in the county took the time to go to the polls. A low voter turnout was expected, since the race was the only one on the ballot.

Ms. Marshall carried 18 of Wayne's 30 precincts. Cunningham won 10, and they tied in two.

The highest voter turnout in the county was in Precinct 19, located at Carver Heights School, which Ms. Marshall won 53-47. She also did well in Precinct 21, located at St. Luke United Methodist Church.

Cunningham posted his biggest vote totals in precincts 12, 13, 14, 29 and 30 (Oak Forest Church, Family of Faith Church, New Hope Friends Church, the Public Library on Ash Street and First United Methodist Church in Mount Olive.)

Democrats now will have to work to unify after an arduous campaign between the two. In his concession speech Tuesday night, Cunningham urged Demo-crats to pull together and support Ms. Marshall.

It was clear Tuesday night that the lengthy primary had left some fractures to mend. Ms. Marshall took a moment during her victory speech to mock the "Washington establishment" for forcing her to win the primary without their help. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Com-mittee recruited Cunning-ham and spent more than $100,000 for his cause.

"But fortunately we had you," she told cheering supporters.

Ms. Marshall faced a range of criticism from her Democratic rivals during the primary, ranging from her years in politics to the donations Ms. Marshall accepted from lobbyists she regulates. The critiques lingered with voters, some of whom expressed concern at polling sites Tuesday that her time in office was a liability.

Cunningham, however, is already moving to boost Ms. Marshall's candidacy. He pledged his support and declared that his differences with her paled in comparison to the differences he has with Burr.

"I commend her for running an extremely impressive campaign, one that has shown tenacity and grit and has overcome some tremendous odds and showed North Carolinians the type of character that we would expect of our next U.S. senator," he said.

The extended primary has already left the Democrats starved for cash. Cunning-ham reported just $100,000 in campaign cash at the beginning of June while Ms. Marshall reported slightly less than $200,000. Burr, meanwhile, had stockpiled nearly $5 million as of the middle of April.

Burr defeated his primary opponent in May. He said in a statement Tuesday night that the Democratic race has shown that voters will decide in November between "two vastly different directions for our country."