Democrats in Washington, DC, are really bad at picking U.S. Senate candidates in North Carolina. Exhibit A: Cal Cunningham.
In 2010, the DSCC heavily recruited and supported Cal Cunningham in the Democratic primary to run against Richard Burr. However, Cunningham’s primary opponent – North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall – effectively used the endorsement against a lackluster Cunningham campaign, declaring: “North Carolina Democrats do not appreciate Washington trying to handpick or anoint their candidate.”
Marshall also accused the DSCC of sexism, saying: “They’ve never looked at a female candidate to the extent that they’ve looked at male candidates. The proof is in the pudding.”
Despite the backing of the national party, Cunningham’s fundraising was lackluster – forcing the DSCC to take the unusual step of spending nearly $200,000 in coordinated funds for Cunningham in the primary. Yet, Cunningham still ended up losing to Marshall by 20 points in the runoff.
Local political consultant Gary Pearce speculated that the support of the DSCC hurt Cunningham in the race: “…you had white male big shots in DC recruiting a white male candidate in NC to run against a female and an African-American – both of whom had the pluck to get into the race on their own.”
So here we go all over again. With the news the DSCC has again endorsed Cunningham over a female woman of color beloved by progressives in State Senator Erica Smith – will Cal repeat history and blow it all over again? Grab your popcorn – it’s #DemsinDisarray time!