Neither four-term Secretary of State Elaine Marshall nor former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, the choice of the Washington Democratic establishment, attained the required 40 percent of the primary vote to win the nomination outright, and thus both move on to a June 22 runoff for the seat held by GOP Sen. Richard Burr.
With about 75 percent of the precincts reporting, Marshall — who sought the Democratic Senate primary eight years ago but lost to Erskine Bowles — had about 37 percent of the vote to Cunningham's 27 percent. Ken Lewis, a businessman backed by many of the state's African-American politicians, finished a poor third.
Given six more weeks to campaign, Cunningham's D.C. and money connections could help him in the runoff. Roll Call's John McArdle writes that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee "clearly sees Cunningham as the better general election candidate to take on" Burr:
But one number that worries Democrats when they look at Burr is his nearly $5 million war chest. And with Democrats fighting it out in a primary for six more weeks, the eventual nominee won’t begin raising money for the general election until late June.