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ICYMI: Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer Editorial Boards Endorse Cal Cunningham, Building On Statewide Support

The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer Editorial Boards endorsed Cal Cunningham Friday, citing his “diverse coalition of supporters” and strength as the candidate with “the best opportunity for voters who want to unseat the Republican incumbent.” 

This endorsement builds on support from progressive groups like League of Conservation Voters and End Citizens United, and key North Carolina organizations like North Carolina Association of Educators and NC AFL-CIO.

In Watauga County, Cal earned the support of Pam’s Picks for his “strong progressive positions” on Medicaid expansion, climate change, women’s rights, LGBTQ protections, criminal justice reform, and voting rights.

Support for Cal can also be found in newspapers across the state, including in his hometown of Lexington. Retired teacher Loretta Martin writes“Cal has served in the North Carolina Senate where his record proves that he is a champion for North Carolina public schools and students. He supported expanding access to high-quality early childhood education and paying our teachers what they deserve.” 

As Republicans try to meddle in the primary, voters aren’t being fooled. In Winston Salem, Gordon and Annie Jenkins write in“The Republicans are afraid Tillis will lose to Cunningham, so they want to pick someone else to run against. This is a dirty trick and undermines the very basis of our country: free and fair elections.”

And in Moore County, Bobbie Mudge writes“Cal Cunningham has been reaching out to voters across North Carolina since last spring. He is committed to bringing change to Washington. Don’t let outside forces control our democracy.”

The editorial board endorsement highlights what organizations and voters across North Carolina have already seen in Cal. He “offers the clearest path forward…and he does so without compromising Democratic Party values.”

Read the full endorsement below.

Charlotte Observer: Our endorsement for the U.S. Senate Democratic primary in North Carolina

The Editorial Board – February 14, 2020  

  • As with this year’s Democratic primary for president, the central issue in the 2020 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate may be electability. N.C. Democrats — along with some independents — are focused on defeating incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis, and at least some may be willing to make some compromises on issues if it means getting the Republican out of office.

  • Smith and Cunningham bring more robust experience as lawmakers and the kind of personal narratives that should appeal to NC voters. Both have rural backgrounds and self-made successes outside of politics — Smith as an engineer and public school teacher, and Cunningham as an environmental business owner and a U.S. Army reserve member with significant service overseas. Both have been capable state lawmakers who have a keen grasp of issues and policies that impact both urban and rural North Carolinians. As with Fuller and Goel, their positions on issues such as immigration reform and gun control are much closer to each other than Republican Tillis.

  • But there are some notable differences in the Democratic positions. While Cunningham advocates for protecting and strengthening the Affordable Care Act, Smith and Fuller both have voiced support for versions of a Medicare for All framework. While all three believe the country needs to combat climate change by investing in a clean energy economy to reduce carbon pollution, Fuller supports the aggressive and ill-fated Green New Deal proposed by progressives in the U.S. House. Smith tries to have it both ways, advocating for “a Green New Deal” without the measure’s most controversial provisions.

  • Those policy differences are healthy and reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party in North Carolina. For primary voters who are concerned more with choosing a candidate most equipped to beat Tillis, however, Cunningham offers the clearest path forward. His more moderate positions on issues such as health care will appeal to the persuadable voters that Democrats need for a repeat of the 2018 blue wave, and Tillis surely would prefer to spend the summer telling those center-to-right North Carolinians about Smith’s Medicare for All support and advocacy for marijuana legalization.

  • Cunningham offers a wider appeal, a diverse coalition of supporters and the most well-funded Democratic campaign, and he does so without compromising Democratic Party values. His candidacy provides the best opportunity for voters who want to unseat the Republican incumbent. We recommend him for the U.S. Senate Democratic primary.