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The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer Editorial Boards have endorsed Cal Cunningham for U.S. Senate, who ultimately “provides the best opportunity” for North Carolinians who want to defeat Thom Tillis in November.
The endorsement underscored his “robust experience” in the State Senate and as a U.S. Army Reserve member as proof that he has a “keen grasp of issues and policies that impact both urban and rural North Carolinians.”
According to their endorsement, “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.”
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.