North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. senate in a runoff election Tuesday.
Marshall won nearly 60 percent of the 158,445 votes in the race against former state Sen. Cal Cunningham. She will challenge incumbent North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr in November.
Marshall was forced to face Cunningham in a runoff after no candidate received 40 percent of the vote in the May 4 primary. During the first vote, Marshall led Cunningham by 9 percent with 36 percent of the total vote, according to results from the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
With fewer than 160,000 total votes in Tuesday’s runoff, Marshall dominated the election with a notably low turnout. Statewide, voter turnout was just 4.5 percent, according to unofficial results from the NCSBE. Just four counties in the entire state had more than 10 percent of registered voters. Durham County had just 6.41 percent turnout with 9,601 of its nearly 150,000 registered voters participating.
Marshall ran as an outsider despite more than a decade of experience in a statewide office and argued that she was standing for average citizens despite the lack of financial support from Democratic leaders across the nation, the Associated Press reported.
Marshall was ignored by her national party and faced the death of her husband during the campaign, according to the (Raleigh) News & Observer. Cunningham endorsed Marshall after she was selected to represent the party and said he will assist in her campaigning. Cunningham called his former opponent “a tough campaigner” and “tenacious.”
“Let’s make sure that we’re behind her, each and every one of us,” said Cunningham, according to the N&O.
Marshall “campaigned as a liberal insurgent” against Cunningham and was endorsed by the liberal groups such as MoveOn.org and Democracy for America, according to USA Today.
“On the political side, the odds were stacked against us, but we didn’t back down,” Marshall told supporters in Raleigh, according to the AP. “The Washington establishment made it clear that we needed to win this nomination without their help. But fortunately we had you.”
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