Senator Richard Burr is the incumbent Senate Republican most likely to lose his seat, although this has less to do with his personal vulnerability and is more a result of a large number of retirements by sitting Republican senators. As a result, several Democratic candidates are all vying for the chance to take on Burr in the general election. And, with only one week until the May 4th primary, the contest still remains wide open.
A recent SurveyUSA poll shows no candidate with more than 23% of the vote, and a full 34% of likely Democratic primary voters still undecided:
Today, [Secretary of State Elaine] Marshall gets 23% of the vote; [former State Senator Cal] Cunningham gets 19%. Attorney Ken Lewis gets 10%; Accountant Susan Harris gets 7%. 2 other candidates, 2008 candidate Marcus Williams and minister Ann Worthy each get 4%. 1 in 3 voters are undecided. Any outcome remains possible.
Marshall has the lead over Cunningham, but Cunningham clearly has the support, though not the official endorsement, of the DSCC. With so many undecided so close to election day, the race is still wide open.
The May 4th primary could easily result in a runoff election on June 22nd. Because of the strange design of North Carolina election law, if a candidate wins a plurality of votes and gets over 40% of the votes cast, they win the nomination outright. But if a candidate wins a plurality of the vote but fails to also secure 40% of the votes cast, there can be a primary runoff election between the top two vote getters. Something important to keep in mind while watching election results next Tuesday.