RALEIGH — Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham are headed to a Senate primary runoff, meaning that the Democrats will duke it out for the next seven weeks rather than take on the Republicans.
Marshall led Tuesday’s Democratic primary with 36 percent of the vote, just short of the 40 percent needed to clinch her party’s nomination. Cunningham immediately called for a runoff, which will be held June 22.
“For the last year he has run a clean campaign. If he decides to continue this campaign for another seven weeks we will beat him again with a larger margin than we did tonight,” Marshall told a crowd of cheering supporters at about 10:20 p.m. at Raleigh’s Brownstone Hotel near downtown.
Minutes later, at his campaign party in Lexington, Cunningham said he was ready for round two.
“I just spoke with Miss Marshall,” Cunningham said. “I told her I hope we can continue to conduct this campaign in the same manner that we conducted it so far. I admire her tremendously. I look forward to seeing her on the campaign trail. We will prevail on June 22nd.”
In an interview, Marshall called her 10-point lead “significant” and said having a runoff “would be contrary to a united party.” But she did not call for Cunningham to drop out, saying it was his decision.
“I wasn’t planning on taking a vacation anyway,” she said.
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