Elaine Marshall

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For the billionaire, see Elaine Tettemer Marshall.
Elaine Marshall
23rd Secretary of State of North Carolina
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Governor Jim Hunt
Mike Easley
Bev Perdue
Pat McCrory
Roy Cooper (Elect)
Preceded by Janice Faulkner
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 15th district
In office
1992–1996
Preceded by ???
Succeeded by Dan Page
Personal details
Born (1945-11-18) November 18, 1945 (age 71)
Lineboro, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Maryland, College Park (BS)
Campbell University (JD)

Elaine F. Marshall (born November 18, 1945) is the current North Carolina Secretary of State; she is the first woman to be elected to that office and the first woman elected to statewide executive office in North Carolina. Marshall was the Democratic Party's nominee for the United States Senate seat currently held by Republican Richard Burr[1] in the 2010 election, which she lost.[2]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Marshall was born in Lineboro, Maryland, in 1945. Her father was a farmer who, for many years, served as a volunteer fire fighter and community leader, and her mother was the organist in the family’s small rural church for more than 60 years. She attended public schools as a child and became the first person in her family to graduate college. She studied textiles at the University of Maryland from 1964 to 1968, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Textiles and Clothing. During her undergraduate years, she spent her summers working as a camping director for the Maryland 4-H Foundation, an organization she has continued to support.

After graduation, Marshall taught in the public schools of Lenoir County, North Carolina, and then ran a book and gift store. She later returned to the field of education as an instructor at Lenoir Community College and Johnston Technical Community College.

Marshall returned to school to study law at the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University and earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1981, where she was accepted into the Who's Who Among American Universities and Colleges. She has been admitted to practice before all North Carolina courts, the U.S. District courts in the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. She is a member of the NC State Bar, the NC Bar Association, the NC Association of Women Attorneys, and the Delta Theta Phi legal fraternity. She became a partner in a Lillington, North Carolina, law firm in 1985.

Political career[edit]

Marshall has been active in Democratic politics in North Carolina for over 30 years.[3] From the early 1970s, she was active in the Young Democrats organization and eventually became National Secretary of the Young Democrats of America. In Harnett County, where she practiced law, Marshall served as President of Democratic Women and, in 1991, served as chair of the Harnett County Democratic Party.

State Senator[edit]

Marshall was first elected to public office in 1992 as a member of the North Carolina Senate representing the 15th Senate District.

Secretary of State[edit]

In 1996, she ran for the post of North Carolina Secretary of State against Republican challenger and former stock car racer Richard Petty. She won the election by a margin of 53% to 45%,[4] becoming the first woman elected to a statewide executive office in North Carolina history. Marshall has won re-election three times and in 2008 received the second highest vote total of any candidate in the state.[5] Elaine Marshall is only the third elected Secretary of State of North Carolina since 1936, as office-holders have commonly been re-elected many times. Marshall has been credited with bringing the office into the technological age by introducing e-commerce and providing online registration for lobbyists and businesses. Marshall's work has been recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Notary Association and Campbell University. In 2007, Marshall served as president of the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council, "an organization of public and private sector leaders aimed at identifying best technology practices that make government agencies more efficient and modernize their services".[6]

2002 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

In 2002, Marshall ran for United States Senate in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jesse Helms. However, she was defeated in the Democratic primary by Erskine Bowles, who served as White House Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton.

2010 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

In 2009, Marshall decided to enter the 2010 Senate race against incumbent Republican Richard Burr.[7] She faced Cal Cunningham, Ken Lewis, and other lesser-known candidates in the May 2010 primary, and won the endorsement of the Charlotte Observer.[8] After failing to garner above 40% of the vote in the May 4 primary election, Marshall had to face Cunningham in a runoff in June.[9]

On June 22, 2010, Marshall defeated Cunningham (with approximately 60 percent of the vote) to secure the Democratic nomination.[10] For the general election, she was again endorsed by the Charlotte Observer, the state's largest newspaper.[11] Despite an endorsement by the Charlotte Observer, on election day, Marshall came up short to incumbent Richard Burr, who had 55% of the votes.[2]

Electoral history[edit]

North Carolina Secretary of State Election, 1996
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elaine Marshall 1,333,994 53.48
Republican Richard Petty 1,126,701 45.17
Libertarian Lewis Guignard 20,734 0.83
Natural Law Stephen Richter 12,896 0.52
North Carolina Secretary of State Election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elaine Marshall (inc.) 1,512,076 54.44
Republican Harris Durham Blake 1,265,654 45.56
North Carolina U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Erskine Bowles 277,329 43.40
Democratic Dan Blue 184,216 28.83
Democratic Elaine Marshall 97,392 15.24
Democratic Cynthia Brown 27,799 4.35
Democratic Albert Lee Wiley, Jr. 12,725 1.99
Democratic Bob Ayers 12,326 1.93
Democratic David Tidwell 10,510 1.64
Democratic Duke Underwood 9,940 1.56
Democratic Randy Crow 6,788 1.06
North Carolina Secretary of State Democratic Primary Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elaine Marshall (inc.) 327,848 80.59
Democratic Doris Sanders 78,953 19.41
North Carolina Secretary of State Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elaine Marshall (inc.) 1,911,585 57.32
Republican Jay Rao 1,423,109 42.68
North Carolina Secretary of State Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elaine Marshall (inc.) 2,316,903 56.79
Republican Jack Sawyer 1,762,928 43.21
North Carolina U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elaine Marshall 154,605 36.35
Democratic Cal Cunningham 115,851 27.24
Democratic Ken Lewis 72,510 17.05
Democratic Marcus Williams 35,984 8.46
Democratic Susan Harris 29,738 6.99
Democratic Ann Worthy 16,655 3.92
North Carolina U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Runoff Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elaine Marshall 95,390 59.96
Democratic Cal Cunningham 63,691 40.04
North Carolina U.S. Senate Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Richard Burr (inc.) 1,458,046 54.81
Democratic Elaine Marshall 1,145,074 43.05
Libertarian Michael Beitler 55,687 2.09
Write-ins Write-ins 1,272 0.05
North Carolina Secretary of State Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elaine Marshall (inc.) 2,331,173 53.79
Republican Ed Goodwin 2,003,026 46.21

Personal life[edit]

Marshall married attorney Bill Holdford in 2001. Holdford died in 2009.[12]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Janice I. Faulkner
Secretary of State of North Carolina
1997–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Erskine Bowles
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from North Carolina
(Class 3)

2010
Succeeded by
Deborah Ross