Democrat State Rep. Grier Martin has decided to take a pass on a Senate race, becoming the latest in a series of Democrats that includes the Governor and the state’s Democrat Congressmen to opt out of a bid. The decision leaves Democrats with little known fundraiser Jim Neal, who will likely be nothing more than a placeholder on the ballot. DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer & Co. had hoped to expand the map to the South, but this means that Virginia is as far South as they can go.
Although North Carolina was one of the big reaches for the Democrats this cycle, the decision comes as welcome news and makes it extremely difficult to see this state becoming even remotely competitive. Dole’s fundraising strength and lack of an opponent also mean that the Republican Presidential candidate will have an added advantage in the state, as Dole will help to drive conservative turnout for whomever happens to be at the top of the ticket. Will this also trickle down to NC-11, where Democrat freshman Rep. Heath Shuler? That remains to be seen, but it certainly is not welcome news to the Democrat in his first reelection bid. He will probably need another solidly Democrat year to hold on.