Dems chairman seeks tough campaign against Burr|Young prepared to play ‘hardball’ with GOP’s Burr

Published 4:02 am Friday, June 26, 2009

Staff Writer

David Young, chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party, said he wants Republican Sen. Richard Burr to face a tough, critical campaign leading up to the 2010 election for one of North Carolina’s two seats in the U.S. Senate.
Young, who addressed the Beaufort County Democratic Women on Wednesday, praised the “Where’s Liddy?” campaign that criticized then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, during her 2008 race with now-Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat.
“That means you’ve got to tell the truth,” he said. “You’ve got to tell the truth on your opponent.”
He described such tactics as “playing hardball.”
Young also called for an increased focus on “neighbor-to-neighbor” campaigning. He said the state party had moved away from that strategy and toward slick advertising campaigns, with poor results, before returning to a personal approach in the 2008 presidential election.
“If we get out and tell our story with a good, strong candidate, we can win that street,” he said.
In an interview before his speech, Young said Cal Cunningham and Mike McIntyre are possible Democratic candidates to take on Burr.
Cunningham is a former state senator and Army reservist from the western part of the state. McIntyre is the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina’s 7th District, which is in the southeastern corner of the state.
Young said McIntyre hasn’t made any formal moves yet, but he can’t be counted out.
“I haven’t heard him say ‘no,’” Young said.
Another focus of Young’s speech was the importance of capturing Republican seats and holding existing Democratic seats in the N.C. Legislature as a result of the 2010 election.
Young said because 2010 is an election year, whoever holds a majority in Raleigh will be able to control redistricting efforts in the state.
“If we don’t get to draw the lines, we’re going to be in bad shape to win elections as Democrats,” he said.
Young believes his party’s chances in national and state races are likely to be helped by visits from President Barack Obama.
Young said Democrats should fight for a budget proposal that includes increasing revenue streams — which mean taxes.
He said the state’s current multi-billion-dollar deficit was caused when revenues dropped sharply. He explained that, for example, sales tax is a key source of state revenue.
“When the recession hit, people stopped buying,” he said.