Bowles was the state Democratic Party’s pick to run for the seat, in part because it believes Bowles has the personal financial wherewithal and the fundraising connections nationally to make it a competitive race against Republican Rep. Richard Burr, who is raising money for his campaign at a fierce pace.
But where Democrats hoped that Bowles’s presence would scare off others, it now appears that won’t happen. Former state speaker of the House Dan Blue, an African American and one of the most well-known politicians in the Tarheel State, appears to be toying with the idea of challenging Bowles. Again.
Blue lost to Bowles in the Democratic primary for the privilege of challenging and losing to Dole. But where Bowles was buried by Dole across the state, some believe that Blue could actually make a better candidate against a Republican statewide. “Blue could mobilize [the black vote] in a way that Bowles probably didn’t against Dole, and wouldn’t against Burr,” says a Blue supporter in Charlotte. “Bowles didn’t get the African American vote out on election day, and that hurt him. It hurt him because he didn’t show Blue enough respect once he won the primary.”
Bowles high-handed treatment of Blue has already cost him big time in a race that really hasn’t started yet. Traditional Democrat donors and fundraisers have been holding fundraisers for Burr, and this was long before Edwards was out of the race.
“There was a sense that if Edwards was out, then Bowles was going to be the party’s boy,” says a DNC staffer in Washington. “You saw traditional Blue supporters turning to a Republican, and that shows how much animus is out there toward Bowles.”