We're going to do a poll this week that includes Heath Shuler, Richard Moore, Walter Dalton, Bob Etheridge, Dan Blue, Elizabeth Edwards, and Cal Cunningham.
I know some of those folks have pretty much said no, but Kay Hagan did two years ago also. We'd rather just have the data whether it ever becomes relevant or not.
That's basically every serious name out there who we haven't polled in the last month already (Mike McIntyre and Kenneth Lewis.)
The other six have all been in positions where they could reasonably accrue some statewide name recognition so we're going to give Cunningham a bio this time around so respondents can react in a more informed fashion to his possible candidacy. That will also be a reminder of a lesson some folks already seem to be forgetting even though it was so relevant just last year- having a good story to tell is more important than initial name recognition.
My gut tells me Cunningham is actually the best of the candidates currently being mentioned. He has a background that's going to play great in 30 seconds, but perhaps even more importantly he has no Washington stench. I think 2010 is going to be a great year to be an outsider regardless of your party- our polling is so consistently showing Senators of both parties not to be particularly popular that I don't see it shaping up necessarily as a Democratic or Republican year so much as a good year to be able to run against the establishment. Cunningham would be more in a position to do that than a Shuler or McIntyre who would otherwise be good candidates.
Anyway, we'll plan on releasing that next Tuesday...something to look forward to.