Cal Cunningham, a former state senator and Iraqi war veteran, formally entered the U.S. Senate race this morning, promising to focus his campaign on North Carolina's struggling economy.
"The defining issue of this campaign is jobs," Cunnigham told about two dozen supporters outside a a 19th century cotton mill that has been redeveloped near downtown Raleigh.
Cunningham has in recent days outlined a series of proposals designed to encourage job creation, including tax credits for businesses that hire new workers, the temporary elimination of capitals gains taxes on small businesses, and the creation of a new bonus manufacturing tax credit to reward companies that research and manufacture their products in this country.
The 36-year old lawyer from Lexington, starts the race little known to voters across North Carolina but with encouragement from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and from the White House who view him as having the most potential against Republican Sen. Richard Burr in the fall. But polls suggest that the May 4th Democratic primary is wide open with Cunningham competing with Chapel Hill attorney Ken Lewis, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Lumberton attorney Marcus Williams.
Cunningham made no mention of his Democratic opponents, but said that Burr is "a symbol of what is wrong in Washington" including the gridlock. He said that Burr had very little to show for his five years in the Senate.