WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Burr’s viewing party didn’t last long — less than two hours after the polls closed, Burr was on the podium in Winston-Salem for his victory speech.
“Thank you all for believing in me and allowing me the chance to be your U.S. senator once again,” Burr said. “The result of this election shows that North Carolinians expect Congress to find reasonable and rational solutions to build a better future.”
Burr’s decisive victory is one of many for incumbents across the state and for Republicans across the country during this midterm election. A growing anti-incumbent and anti-Democratic sentiment proved too much for Burr’s Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who also struggled to raise money after a closely contested Democratic primary.
Unofficial numbers show Burr defeated Marshall 55 to 43, as of 11:30 p.m., with 96 counties reporting their results, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections.
In retaining his U.S. Senate seat, Burr became the first senator to be reelected to the seat since 1967.
“Thank goodness the curse has been broken,” he said. “The campaign has now ended, but important work still continues.”
Burr could also make history for the margin of his victory, said Pat McCrory, the 2008 GOP gubernatorial candidate and emcee of Burr’s viewing party.
“If current trends continue, he will have received the highest percentage of the vote for any senator running for Senate in the state of North Carolina,” McCrory said in introducing Burr to a raucous crowd of supporters.
Much of the crowd’s support for Burr centered around his economic policies. His fiscal conservatism is what mattered most to Patrick Baker of Statesville.
“Spending is not the answer. We have to be fiscally responsible to get out of this economic situation,” Baker said.
David Young, chairman of the Democratic Party, said the young people’s support that was so important in the 2008 election wasn’t there this year.
“We’ve got to get young people out and get college people engaged again,” Young said.
“We’ve worked to keep tuition low and make access higher, we work hard to make sure that Carolina and other universities in our state are as great as they are.”
In Marshall’s somber concession speech in Raleigh, she pledged that her work in North Carolina wasn’t done.
“I have pledged to Sen. Burr that I will do everything within my power to work with him and to work together through the difficult challenges we face,” Marshall said. “This election is over, but the problems persist.”
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Democrats, and especially Marshall supporters, won’t be happy tonight, said Kyle Hall, a member of UNC College Republicans and chairman of Tar Heels 4 Burr.
“The mood at Elaine Marshall’s party is probably somber, because she knows the failed policies of the last two years in her party have not set her up for success,” he said. “People are upset. The Tea Party demonstration has shown that.”
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