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Pundits: Dole to Face Trials in Senate Run

Dole, who also is a former president of the American Red Cross, will be running against Richard Vinroot and Ada Fisher for the GOP nomination. On the Democratic side, the only two candidates to announce their decision to run are Rep. Dan Blue, D-Wake, and N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

Originally planning to announce her candidacy Sept. 11 from her hometown of Salisbury, N.C., Dole delayed because of the terrorist attacks.

When reporters asked Dole on Saturday if she intended to run, Dole responded that she would. Dole plans to tour all 100 N.C. counties in the coming weeks.

Ferrel Guillory, director of UNC's Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life, said Republicans in Washington, D.C., have encouraged Dole to run.

"The Senate is very narrowly divided, every seat counts," Guillory said. "Her running for Helms' seat grew out of the effort in Washington to organize a strong party effort in 2002."

Guillory expressed concern about the lack of time she has spent in North Carolina in recent years.

"She doesn't have those personal day-to-day connections," he said.

N.C. Democratic Chairwoman Barbara Allen also expressed concern with Dole's recent decision.

"Whoever wins the senate race needs to know this state and needs to know the needs of the state," Allen said, adding that she thinks just reading about the state and not residing in it is ineffective.

Charles Coe, a political science professor at N.C. State University, pointed out the parallels in Dole's decision to run for Senate with Hillary Clinton's race in New York, dubbing it the "Hillary effect."

"Hillary didn't live in New York," said Coe. "The question is, will North Carolina do the same thing?"

UNC political science Professor Thad Beyle also called attention to Dole's residency. Dole has been a Kansas resident for years but switched her voter registration to North Carolina after Helms announced his retirement, prompting speculation that she would seek the post.

"She has not lived in the state for over four decades," Beyle said. "In that way, she looks like a carpetbagger."

But Dole does have North Carolina roots, as compared to Clinton, who grew up in Illinois.

Dole was born in Salisbury and attended Duke University. She returns to Salisbury occasionally to visit her mother.

Guillory said that although she has not lived in the state for years, Dole's nationwide reputation might give her an advantage compared to the competition.

"She's a known name in national politics with enough North Carolina ties to give her a foothold."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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