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Tobacco Buyout Helps Burr Gain in N.C.
AP ^ | 10-13-2004 | GARY D. ROBERTSON,

Posted on 10/13/2004 2:34:16 PM PDT by kingattax

RALEIGH, N.C. - A $10 billion payout from a Republican Congress to tobacco growers this week and a tidal wave of television advertisements have elevated Rep. Richard Burr (news, bio, voting record) into a neck-and-neck race with Democrat Erskine Bowles, former President Clinton (news - web sites)'s White House chief of staff.

For months Bowles held an 8 percent to 10 percent point lead, an advantage many credited to name recognition from his unsuccessful 2002 Senate campaign against Elizabeth Dole (news - web sites).

Among other things, the candidates are battling over who should get credit for a tobacco quota buyout package that Congress passed Monday, which is expected to inject nearly $4 billion into the state economy.

Though both candidates predicted the race would tighten and remain in doubt until the end, some within the GOP criticized Burr for not gearing his campaign up earlier.

Those doubts were erased by the congressman's September surge, which saw the release two weeks ago of a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey showing Bowles with just a 45 percent to 44 percent lead. More recent polls have kept the race in the too-close-to-call category.

Burr's rise in the polls occurred after he lit up the airwaves with TV commercials linking Bowles with his former boss, Clinton.

"I think we are now ahead," Burr said in an interview before a campaign appearance Tuesday in rural Richmond County. "We clearly have the advantage."

The same polls showed the Bush-Cheney ticket extending its lead in North Carolina over Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites) and running mate Sen. John Edwards (news - web sites) of North Carolina. The White House encouraged Burr to seek the Edwards' Senate seat.

Bowles and his fellow Democrats remain confident, saying Bush lacks the enthusiastic support needed to give the president coattails in North Carolina.

"We always knew it was going to be close," said Brad Woodhouse, Bowles' 2002 communications director, now working to elect Senate Democrats nationwide. "The state is very split in partisan terms."

The Burr ads borrow from Dole's successful 2002 playbook, when she overwhelmed Bowles in the race to succeed Jesse Helms in North Carolina's other Senate seat.

With North Carolina's economy reeling from manufacturing job losses blamed on foreign trade, Burr's ads portray Bowles as "Clinton's chief negotiator" on the North American Free Trade Agreement and efforts to establish permanent normal trading relations to China.

Burr himself has a record of support for free trade.

Another Burr ad links Bowles to Clinton administration troop reductions and other military spending cuts "while al-Qaida terrorists were declaring war on America."

Bowles has fired back with accusations that Burr is beholden to corporate interests at the expense of North Carolina voters.

"Richard Burr ... always putting the special interests first," said an ad attacking Burr for being one of only 12 House members to vote against a bill to prevent nursing homes from discharging Medicaid patients.

On defense issues, Bowles accuses Burr of voting against veterans and flip-flopping on homeland security. And on Wednesday, Bowles started running ads that feature retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, the retired chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and a North Carolina native.

The $10 billion tobacco buyout, attached to a corporate tax bill, could prove pivotal. In May, Bush said he saw no need for it. The White House reversed course a month later after being told tobacco growers would blame Republicans if there were no deal for the government to pay them for giving up depression-era quotas aimed at keeping leaf prices high.

Burr was not on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, but House GOP leaders made him a negotiator on the final bill, giving him a platform to tout a victory for tobacco farmers.

Though tobacco's importance in the state has waned in recent years, the buyout is hugely important in rural eastern North Carolina, where conservative Democrats often vote Republican in federal elections.

Bowles also took credit for the buyout's passage, citing his trip to Washington last week to lobby two dozen Democratic senators to vote for it even though it lacked a provision giving the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) regulatory authority over tobacco.

Reynolds American, the nation's No. 2 cigarette maker and an opponent of FDA (news - web sites) regulation, is based in Burr's congressional district. Its employees are among Burr's largest donors.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: erskinebowles; northcarolina; richardburr; ussenate

1 posted on 10/13/2004 2:34:16 PM PDT by kingattax
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To: kingattax

At this point, I think Burr has to be considered the favorite. He's got 100% of the forward momentum, while Bowles has backward momentum. Burr has went from 32 to 35 to 40 to 44 to 44 to 46 to 46. Bowles has went from 45 to 45 to 45 to 48 to 50 to 44 to 44. So basically, minus one poll that seemed to be an abboration, he's getting the same votes he got in 2002. That's 5%+1 less then he needs to win this time, and Bush is going to carry the state by 10%.


2 posted on 10/13/2004 2:37:21 PM PDT by zbigreddogz
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To: Constitution Day

ping


3 posted on 10/13/2004 2:45:04 PM PDT by Mike Fieschko ("Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?")
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To: zbigreddogz

As a NCian, it was music to my ears to hear that Burr had finally come to life in this race. I was never too down about it considering that Bowles was rarely at or above 50% even when he had a significant lead. But I still consider it a toss-up that could go either way.

Hopefully Burr will close like Dole did in 2002 when she wound up easily winning what was thought to be a squeaker.


4 posted on 10/13/2004 2:57:36 PM PDT by Aetius
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To: JohnnyZ

More good news for Richard Burr.


5 posted on 10/13/2004 8:50:29 PM PDT by Kuksool (Get Your Souls To The Polls In November)
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To: kingattax
Let's compare the rhetoric:

"I think we are now ahead," Burr said in an interview before a campaign appearance Tuesday in rural Richmond County. "We clearly have the advantage."

"We always knew it was going to be close," said Brad Woodhouse, Bowles' 2002 communications director, now working to elect Senate Democrats nationwide. "The state is very split in partisan terms."

I said previously that while I was confident Burr would close the gap and win, we might not see a single poll with him leading until the last two weeks. Now it's POSSIBLE we won't see a non-partisan poll with Bowles leading ever again!

6 posted on 10/13/2004 10:13:59 PM PDT by JohnnyZ ("Jim, you've got to do in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test" - JFnK)
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To: kingattax

I gotta say I love Dole, she has really been working it the last two years , making up for pretty boy's absence


7 posted on 10/14/2004 10:20:00 AM PDT by jbwbubba (stunner)
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To: TaxRelief; Helms; 100%FEDUP; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; ~Vor~; A2J; a4drvr; Adder; Aegedius; ...

NC *Ping*

Please FRmail Constitution Day, TaxRelief OR Helms if you want to be added to or removed from this North Carolina ping list.
8 posted on 10/14/2004 10:20:51 AM PDT by Constitution Day (Burger-Eating War Monkey)
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To: Constitution Day

As a newly-immigrated NCian (from the People's Dimdomecratic Respooplik of California), I was greatly pleased at the quality of the Republican slate here. I know that Easley looks to beat Pat Ballantine, but otherwise I'm looking for Burr to win.

Now, if only the more local Repubs could overtake the local Dems in office. Here in east-central NC, the slate in power is all Dem, though most people I meet are quite conservative. I guess it's more Zellness: sensible people who should know better than to remain in a perverted party.

For those in the Lee County area, there will be a Repub meet n greet in Carolina Trace (south of Sanford) on Sunday, Oct 17th at 4pm. One does need prior permission to enter the Trace but if people want to attend, I can provide my email and see if we can work something out.

Thanks.


9 posted on 10/14/2004 11:57:50 AM PDT by BelegStrongbow (Having a human friend is no bed of roses)
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To: Constitution Day
The Republican Senatorial Committee ads against Bowles that have just started running are AWESOME!!!

They do a great job of linking Bowles and Clinton as well as saying that Bowles and Clinton were weak on immigration and security. Bowles supported in state tuition rates and increasing welfare for immigrants. These are things that I wasn't aware of and I thought they were pretty hard hitting at Irksome.

MKM

10 posted on 10/14/2004 12:22:35 PM PDT by mykdsmom (Proud Google Monkey since November 9th, 2000!)
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To: kingattax

The freshman Senator from NC..............Richard (bury Bowels) BURR!!!!!!!!


11 posted on 10/14/2004 1:23:35 PM PDT by F.J. Mitchell (Democrats=40 million dead babies-Terrorists=minus 1 million total-mere nuisance by Kerry's standards)
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