North Carolina: Lewis Becomes Former Rival’s Campaign Chair

Posted May 25, 2010 at 6:13pm

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall on Tuesday named former Democratic primary foe Ken Lewis as her campaign chairman.

Marshall and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham are in a June 22 runoff for the Democratic nomination.

Her move is an effort to get some extra bounce from the alliance with the third-place finisher in the primary.

It also may be a way to change the story line a bit after the Cunningham campaign announced the endorsement of former Senate candidate Jim Neal, who came in second to Sen. Kay Hagan in the 2008 Democratic primary after running a grass-roots campaign that tried to appeal to voters who thought Hagan was too moderate.

In his endorsement Monday, Neal called Cunningham “a fresh face and a new voice who will work with President [Barack] Obama” — a word choice intended to back up the campaign’s depiction of Marshall as a career politician.

Lewis took 17 percent of the vote on primary night, while Marshall finished first with 36 percent and Cunningham took 27 percent.

The winner of the runoff will face Sen. Richard Burr (R) in November.