Elaine Marshall is telling people she’s in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. That should give Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis pause. She has two big advantages: stature and gender.
Women have won three of the last five races for governor or Senator in North Carolina: Dole, Hagan and Perdue versus Easley and Burr.
In a delightful twist of historical fate, it is now to a candidate’s advantage to be a woman. Most voters are women. Female candidates get more media and national political attention. And there is no Tom, Dick or Harry’s List to raise money for male candidates just because they’re male.
But Marshall is not unbeatable. Yes, she beat Richard Petty way back. But Petty was one of those candidates who peaked the day he got in the race. Then he ran his own campaign off the road when he deliberately “bumped” another driver on the Interstate, just to teach him a lesson.
Does Marshall have the toughness to raise money and aggressively take on her opponents? She may need it, because she may have to fight for the nomination.
In 2008, Chuck Shumer cleared the field for Kay Hagan, with Jim Hunt’s help. Don’t look for Hunt to endorse in the primary this time. And the new DSCC chair, Bob Menendez, is no Chuck Shumer. Plus, Majority Leader Harry Reid has his own mountain of troubles in Nevada.
And Richard Burr is not the pushover that Public Policy Polling has tried so hard to paint him as. Some Democratic polls show him surprisingly strong.
The Democratic field is still fluid. There is at least one other Big Name looking at the race. But he/she would kill me if I identified him/her.