Ken is Speaking Truth to Power

Ken Lewis, a progressive candidate running for the Democratic nomination to defeat Sen. Richard Burr, has called upon the members of the North Carolina Banking Commission to be accountable for their approval of bank bonuses in 2009.

As our economy collapsed, in large part due to the irresponsibility of banks and bank regulators, the NC Banking Commission approved massive cash bonuses for industry executives. Only because of leadership from the North Carolina General Assembly were those who lead our economy off a cliff not rewarded for doing so.

Cal Cunningham has sought to escape accountability for his vote to approve bonuses for bankers. Both he and his senior strategist Scott Falmlen are members of the NC Banking Commission. Not only was Cunningham present on the call, his senior strategist was the first to move for approval of the bonuses.

When Ken Lewis stood up in opposition to banking bonuses, Cunningham staffers were quick to attempt to cut him down. They called him a conspiracy theorist, they called him an opportunist, they called him a liar. The transcript makes it clear that Ken Lewis has told the truth from the start, and it directly contradicts Cunningham's recollection of his own actions.

The transcript shows that:

  • The discussion of bonuses for bank CEOs is on the agenda.
  • Cunningham actively speaks to the issue of bank bonuses; he asks a question about when the bank bonus vote will be taken.
  • Cunningham has a chance to object to what is referred to by Falmlen as the "bank bonus scheme," and fails to do so. He votes to approve.

In an interview with Gary Robertson on April 14th, Cunningham states that the issue was not on the agenda. The transcript reveals that the issue was on the agenda and that Cunningham directly spoke to that agenda item.

In an interview with Mark Binker on April 15th, Cunningham does not deny that issue was on the agenda, instead saying that he got off the phone before the vote was taken. The transcript does not note that Cunningham left the meeting before the vote was cast, but it does make it clear that Cunningham understood that the vote was to take place. It is possible that Cunningham was absent without leave from his responsibility to protect North Carolina's financial foundation, but quite frankly abdicating this responsibility is even worse than making a questionable decision.

You can read the transcript, which was obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. You can find Cunningham's attendance on page 3, his participation on page 22, and his failure to state any objection (de facto voting approval) on page 48.

This is Ken Lewis's statement regarding the transcript:

"The North Carolina Banking Commission's records today confirm what we have said all along: When Cal had a chance to make a stand against bonuses he was silent. That is not standing up for the working families of North Carolina, that's standing down."

One does not stand up to a political machine without being made to suffer for that audacity. This is evidenced by the regularity with which Cunningham surrogates anonymously attack the integrity of anyone attempting to discuss Cunningham's record. Hopefully readers of this post will be willing to consider the facts as they stand.

By casting an apple of discord into North Carolina's primary, the DSCC has created distrust and disunity within the Democratic party that will not soon be healed.



I don't speak for or work for any NCSEN campaign or committee.

As I've stated before, I provided technical assistance to both the Lewis and Marshall campaigns months ago, an engagement that is not ongoing.

King or Queen Maker

Marshall gets 26% this week to 23% for Cunningham. It's clearly become a two person race as the rest of the candidates are languishing in single digits. Kenneth Lewis is at 7%, Marcus Williams at 4%, and Susan Harris and Ann Worthy at 3%.

Marshall 26%
Cunningham 23%
Lewis 7%
Williams 4%
Worth 3%

Remaining 37%

Lets say that remaining 37% or so breaks evenly, rather than say going more heavily towards Marshall and Cunningham who are both running TV ads. That would put both Marshall and Cunningham pretty close to 40% but probably not over the top. I'm not suggesting Lewis should or shouldn't do it, but if he were to consider bowing out and endorsing someone before primary day itself, he might be able to get agreements from either campaign to elevate important issues, take more progressive stances, and avoid a run off.

After the primary is completely over I imagine all the candidates that didn't win will support the winning candidate. If Lewis were to go ahead and do that now he could have a whole lot of sway, if he waits 1 week that sway may be gone. I believe primaries are where you should vote for what you want, not just what you think you can get, and that every candidate has the right to run. So I don't want this coming across as "Lewis should get out of the race", instead I just wanted to float an idea on how he might have the greatest impact on the issues important to him and on the election outcome in light of today's new polling data.


I believe that the DSCC and Cunningham's campaign have tried to pressure Lewis out of the race.

Nonetheless, Lewis is in it to win it.

If we do have a run-off, which Cunningham's campaign is reportedly planning on, it will compromise our efforts to defeat Burr in November.

Sounds like FauxCal talking


I promise I am not out to pick fights with you, but now you are just throwing out unfounded theories. If you are going to make a blantantly conspiratorial accusation, without any facts, that completely subverts any argument you were trying to make in your post. Much like attacking me previously at 2:40 in the morning -- it undermines your credibility and makes you look sickeningly paranoid.

Honestly, this sort of rhetoric is more befitting a teabagger than someone who is obviously as smart and committed to North Carolina politics as yourself.

And yes, Jerimee, I know you are not FauxCal, but you are certainly doing some of his/her bidding. For those unaware to whom I am referring, it is a libelous, incendiary Twitter profile whose sole purpose -- whether paid for, done as a favor for or with just enough free time for meddling in NC politics.

Look, if you think Cal is some sort of crook -- fine, you are obligated to think that. For those of us who think Cal is the smartest, most capable and best challenger to beat Burr -- guess what, we are allowed to think that too. And, if by looking at the numbers and thinking there might be a run-off (which there very well may be), says anything about Cal's team, I would say it shows his campaign is planning strategically, not just hoping for changes in the poll numbers and voting trends.

With all due respect to you, and to Matt below (welcome, Matt!), it is unbelieveably hard to see how Ken can make any sort of race of this. That is not to disparage Ken, who I do agree is in it to win it, but the numbers are just not there -- and, most likely will not be. I respect Matt's calculations and reasoning as to why he believes Ken still has a chance and, about exactly one week as of my writing in this post, we'll see if his belief and Ken's media strategy worked. That's why we vote. Regardless, I am glad Ken is running and look forward to him throwing his hat in the ring again someday. It is an incredibly noble undertaking.

But, the fact remains that whether you like Cal or not, believe him or not, want him in this race or not - or agree with his positions or not -- its quite obvious that he is "in it to win it" as well. And yes, EVERYONE on BlueNC knows that you don't like Cal's reasoning for finally deciding to get in the race. Please do not sound that alarm bell again.

But the fact remains that Cal is in, is running a good campaign and wants to be the nominee.

If you really care about the other candidates in this race, please go work at the polls, make calls or give rides to folks who will vote for them. It's far more effective than screaming into the internet and fearing your own big government (read: DSCC) takeover.

-- A liberal originally from Yadkin County. Did I just blow your mind?

Facts on the Poll

Jake and Other interested BlueNC readers:

What this poll shows is that the outcome of the election is still up in the air. 37% of those polled remain undecided. 40% of those who were committed said they could still change their mind. Though the DSCC candidate has spent a considerable amount of money, and though Secretary Elaine Marshall has run for statewide office __ times, support for these candidates remains soft.

Ken Lewis is still very much in the race. The poll went into the field before Lewis made his media buy and went up on the air. Much of the Lewis media strategy is backloaded, and we expect to see the results of this effort reflected at the polls on election day.

This most recent PPP poll and other previous polls, simply do not reflect what the Lewis campaign is seeing internally, and what the Lewis campaign expects to see on election day.

Although an avid reader, I've never posted on BlueNC and would like you to know that I am a member of the Ken Lewis staff.

Thanks, Matt

Good to see you guys are still driving hard.

Welcome Matt

Glad to hear there is still a lot of fire in the Lewis campaign. I only meant to suggest one road towards elevating issues important for the Lewis campaign, but winning an election is quite obviously a more powerful road. Ken seems like a really great guy and has run a respectable campaign and I wish you all the best of luck in the election even if I am pulling for Elaine.

We'll do one final poll next weekend, and we usually feel pretty comfortable saying that whoever leads that last survey is going to be the winner.

It looks like they are doing one last poll next weekend. The poll we are looking at today looks like it missed both the upcoming Lewis ad buys as well as the Marshall TV ad buy, so next weeks results should be very telling.