A handful of Democrats are vying in the May 4 primary for their party's nomination to oppose Republican Senator Richard Burr. Two Democratic candidates appear to be the front runners:
Former state Senator Cal Cunningham, 36. He served one term in the state Senate, from 2001 to 2003. A lawyer, Cunningham did a tour of duty in Iraq as an Army reservist.
North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, 64. She was elected to her current office in 1996, after serving four years in the state Senate. In 1996, her Republican opponent was professional auto racer Richard Petty. This is Marshall's second run for the U.S. Senate; she lost the Democratic primary in 2002 to Erskine Bowles, who went on to lose to Republican Elizabeth Dole.
Polls reported by Real Clear Politics show Marshall slightly ahead. There will be a June 22 runoff, if no candidate receives at least 40% of the votes.