Skip to comments.Burr heads to U.S. Senate at opportune time
Posted on 11/08/2004 6:15:51 AM PST by Constitution Day
Burr heads to U.S. Senate at opportune time
By STEVE HARTSOE, Associated Press Writer
November 7, 2004 1:24 pm
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Richard Burr heads to the U.S. Senate on a conservative wave similar to the one he rode to Congress 10 years ago.
The Winston-Salem Republican was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives when Georgia's Newt Gingrich led a GOP sweep in the 1994 election that gave the party control of the House for the first time in decades.
In this year's election, the GOP cemented its hold on the House and Senate, adding seats in both chambers, and re-elected President Bush with a majority of the popular vote.
With GOP leaders signaling a sweeping conservative agenda for the 109th Congress, Burr, a strong Bush ally who was encouraged to run for the Senate by the White House, will enter the upper chamber at an opportune time.
"Oh, Burr is in the best of all possible positions to be in," says Dennis Grady, a political science professor at Appalachian State University. "I mean, he took a Democratic seat, he's got experience on the Hill, he is considered a loyal lieutenant of the Bush administration. And those are just the situational strengths."
Observers say the five-term congressman has proven himself a solid worker who is content to get the job done even as a background player.
"He does the inside game really well," Grady said.
His opponents charge that Burr may not deliver for North Carolina, noting that under his watch, his hometown has seen a plethora of job losses in the once-thriving textile and tobacco industries.
"If you were to take as an example his ability to protect the industry of Winston-Salem, I would say that he has not done well," said Ted Arrington, chairman of the political science department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Burr is a strong ally of business, and Democrat Erskine Bowles used that against him in this year's Senate campaign, arguing that Burr was beholden to special interests and would not put the interest of North Carolinians first. Burr denied the charge and ultimately defeated Bowles by 52 percent to 47 percent.
In the Senate, Burr, 48, is expected to support key Bush initiatives such as medical malpractice reform, a comprehensive energy policy, tax code reform, the war on terrorism and the appointment of conservative judges.
He breaks with the administration over its efforts to limit on stem cell research, spokesman Doug Heye said.
Another key issue in the year ahead for North Carolina's congressional delegation will be limiting the impact from another round of scheduled military base closures.
With Burr replacing Democrat John Edwards, fellow Republican Elizabeth Dole becomes the state's senior U.S. senator. Heye said Dole and Burr will work together to decide which committee assignments Burr will pursue.
"We will work together to help grow the economy and bring more and better jobs to North Carolina, to make sure that everyone has access to affordable health care, and that we have a strong military that is capable and ready," Burr told supporters on election night.
With a decade of Washington lawmaking experience under his belt, Burr is expected to establish himself more quickly than Dole did following her 2002 election to the Senate.
Though she entered the chamber with celebrity status, due to her marriage to former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole and cabinet positions in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, Dole moved slowly in her first year in the Senate, building her knowledge of and relationships within the institution.
"We do know that House members who move to the Senate move more quickly because they know the ropes," Arrington said.
One analyst believes Burr will be more focused on Senate business and North Carolina than Edwards, who spent nearly all the last two years running for president or vice president.
"It'll be nice to have somebody who's there," said Carmine Scavo, a political science professor at East Carolina University in Greenville.
Arrington said North Carolina senators have typically followed one of two paths in Washington: the ideologue route of Jesse Helms, or the "bringing home the bacon" path of Terry Sanford.
Burr could choose either route.
"It depends on how he sees his role," Arrington said.
And though his term runs through 2010, lurking in the background is the reality that no incumbent has held the seat Burr inherits for more than one term since Democrat Sam Ervin Jr. left the Senate after 20 years in 1974.
"If I were (Burr), I wouldn't get too comfortable," Arrington said.
Richard will be NC's finest Senator.
I completely agree and I'm very happy about it!
Sen. Helms campaigned for Richard Burr. I got to shake his hand & speak briefly with him.
I am not ashamed to admit that there were tears in my eyes the day in 2001 that Jesse announced his retirement.
It was the end of a great era.
I have said since that there would never be another Jesse. I hope I'm wrong!
I'm sort of ashamed to admit that I know next to nothing about my new senator (other than the fact that I voted for him)! I'm anxious to learn more and to possibly see him become a shining star. Should be interesting to watch. I guess one of the problem with electoral politics these days is that one can decide who to vote for in a matter of milliseconds so there is no need for in depth research of the candidates (or so it seems to me).
Richard is very well aware of that. He's had to fight a battle with each cycle for the House. That's one of the things that I love about him. He's faced down a LOT of challenges and come out on top. I really think he's the one to break the curse.
A very nice illustration of the "Six Year Smile." Nice to see it on the face of a Republican!
Waaaaaaaahhhh, SOMEbody's candidate lost this year! Poor Ted....
Welcome to the Senate, Senator elect Richard Burr.
We hope to add 12 to 15 other republicans like you in 2006.
Representative Richard BURR (R)
5th Congressional District, North Carolina
Republican, Years of Service: 9
|ACU Ratings for Representative BURR:|
Burr is a good conservative, but it's Tom Coburn who will be the next Jesse Helms.
Thanks! Here's to two Republican senators. Now if we can figure out how to dislodge David Price from Washington.
Well done! Burr managed to overcome Bowles's massive warchest and superior name ID. After looking at the election map, Burr won by using Jesse Helm's formula - promoting moral issues to the Yellow Dogs of East Carolina. Burr carried the rural areas while losing Charlotte and Raleigh. In time, I hope Burr can make inroads with these growing areas. He is going to need it when either Mike Easley or Bob Etheridge challenges him in 2010.
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