In 2002, Elizabeth Dole easily claimed the rock-solid Republican seat in North Carolina once held by Jesse Helms. But in 2008, Dole's seat has become a prime target for a Democratic pick up, reports the New York Times, and the party's senatorial fund has spent more there than in any other race. Once up by double digits, Dole now faces defeat at the hands of Kay Hagan, a relatively unknown state politician.
At a recent rally, the senator lashed out at Chuck Schumer's "New York money" being spent on "negative, ugly, mean-spirited, untruthful ads." But her own ads have been similarly aggressive, with one equating Hagan to a yapping dog. North Carolina does offer Dole one advantage: voters must cast ballots for president and senator separately, which observers say will mitigate the downticket consequences of Barack Obama's recent surge.