Democrats' plans to take Jesse Helms' old Senate seat, but state Sen. Kay Hagan and Sen. Elizabeth Dole were tied after the primary. Although Dole struck back, gaining ground on immigration and off-shore drilling, the economy and presidential race favored Democrats. Dole did herself no favors with an ad questioning Hagan's ties to an atheist-advocate group – and Hagan’s Christian faith, critics said. On Election Day, Hagan beat Dole.