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Why Meek might run against Dole

The inclusion of Jerry Meek in a recent poll is probably not coincidental.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, has been testing various candidates against the incumbent Republican senator in recent months.

Their decision to try out Meek, the state Democratic Party chairman, could signal several things. Here are a few theories:

Sacrificial lamb: Despite Democratic boasting, Democrats don't think they can win, so they're looking for a candidate with nothing to lose. (Unlike, say, Rep. Brad Miller.)

Lose now, win later: Even PPP's Justin Guillory calls Meek "a relative unknown." Coming in a close second to Dole could put him in play down the road. (It worked for Mike Easley, who lost a Senate primary, but later became governor.)

Jack Murphy test: The firm was just looking to see how Dole would fare against a random name, like the fictional Murphy, to see her generic approval ratings.

Meek came in at 32 percent to Dole's 47 percent in the poll.


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Re: Why Meek might run against Dole

Jerry Meek would be an excellent Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate as would Congressman Mel Watt and Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue. The lieutenant governor of course appears headed toward a 2008 run for governor which could be a lot more difficult that many folks realize at this point, and not just in the matter of competing for the Democratic nomination. There hasn't been a Republican cloth coat hung on the rack at the Governor's Mansion on Blount Street in 15 years, and the GOP would have to work extra hard to commit enough faux-pas not to at least make a contest of it in 2008.

Meek, Watt and Perdue have in common the admirable political ability to articulate clearly delineated philosophical views on issues of special importance to the most involved and active interest groups and constituencies in this state but, equally important, retain the personal ability to convince individual citizens that their particular concerns on various issues will be given serious consideration rather than simply being passed by or abandoned in the quest to satisfy only the demands of the most influential groups and organizations.

Jerry Meek has a seemingly magical touch when it comes to addressing the specific agendas which come into play for Democratic Party activists during an election year cycle. He does not back away from the traditional positions of the Democratic Party in North Carolina, but at the same time he frequently demonstrates a willingness to question old methodologies while maintaining an astute alertness to the possibilities of innovation and new directions in political task-mastering.

Mel Watt has, on the liberal side of the North Carolina political batter's box, the same uncanny ability as Sen. Jesse Helms had on the conservative side of the chalklines, to win voters over on an individual basis despite the projection of strongly held views tending to reflect one particular zone of the political spectrum. Watt, a veteran hurler on the Democratic congressional baseball squad in Washington, can put the ball in the strike zone, but like other Democrats out there on the mounds of congressional representation, could use a little more offensive support from his teammates, and he might find the right lineup in the U.S. Senate.

Beverly Perdue is still a political unknown of sorts despite the expansive public range of ceremonial and political duties she carries out as No. 2 to the Governor, especially since Gov. Easley seems to gravitate to the George Jones approach to political meetings and conferences--meaning, you're never quite sure if he is going to show up for that particular show.
Look for some fans of Perdue's talented roadside pit crew to give some thought to a possible detour over to the U.S. Senate 2008 straight-away.

So the Democrats have many possibilities for attracting a strong field of candidates for the 2008 Senate race in challenging a most able and erudite Republican incumbent who nonetheless is facing some possible tough times in the big Republican tent where so many GOP presidential hopefuls seem to be milling about, looking for some new campaign strategies. If the Democrats can put forward a relevant and South-attuned presidential campaign while bringing the state-level warhorses out to the center of the ring in the 2008 gubernatorial race, then Sen. Dole could find that the middle road in North Carolina politics next year could be more like a third rail, necessitating a savvy and forward-looking campaign which will keep her in her customary pole position of being at least a quarter lap ahead of the rest of the crowd.

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