Marshall Takes Dems’ N.C. Senate Nomination; D’Annunzio Comes Up Short

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 9:08 pm

North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) has won her party’s Senate nomination, while embattled Republican candidate Tim D’Annunzio lost his bid to challenge Rep. Larry Kissell (D).

The Associated Press declared Marshall the winner in her runoff after she beat former state Sen. Cal Cunningham 60-40 percent. Marshall will face incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R) in the general election.

Marshall was 9 percentage points ahead of Cunningham in the May 4 primary, but she did not clear the 40 percent threshold necessary to avoid a runoff. Though Cunningham had unofficial support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Marshall was able to win voters by highlighting her deeper recorder of experience in elected office. She was also seen as the more electable of the two candidates, keeping Burr under 50 percent and running within 7 points of him in a Public Policy Polling survey released earlier this month.

Former sportscaster Harold Johnson defeated Tea Party candidate D’Annunzio 61-39 percent. Though D’Annunzio placed first in the primary, he was later dogged by accusations from state Republican leaders that he is a religious zealot. State party chair Tom Fetzer even said D’Annunzio was “unfit for public office at any level.”

D’Annunzio may have hit the final nail into his political coffin when he had an on-air meltdown during a radio interview with WBT host Keith Larson. During the interview, he accused Larson of helping create an ad for Johnson’s campaign — an act D’Annunzio said would send Larson to “a special place in hell.” Some listeners who called into the show indicated D’Annunzio’s tirade had convinced them to switch their votes in the runoff.

Updated at 11:31 p.m.

Follow Jimm Phillips on Twitter


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