RALEIGH, N.C. — Both Erskine Bowles and Congressman Richard Burr continue to map out their strategies in hopes of landing a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Bowles was in the Clinton White House and he is running for Senate for the second time in as many years, so it is no surprise to many people Erskine Bowles has better name recognition than Congressman Richard Burr.
"We're very excited not only that he's leading in name recognition, but he's leading in the head-to-head," said Carlos Monje, spokesman for the Bowles campaign.
"I'm not surprised at all. As a matter of fact, I'm optimistic from those reports," Burr said. "After $14 million in the last election cycle, his numbers have stayed the same and mine have gone up and I haven't spent a dime yet."
Results of a
WRAL Mason-Dixon Poll
show statewide, 45 percent of likely voters currently support Bowles, while 35 percent back Burr and a significant 20 percent are undecided.
"There's a lot of time. It's going to get closer, but the reality is Erskine is the better candidate," Monje said.
"That election will not be tomorrow. It will be Nov. 2 and a lot can change between now and then," Burr said.
Both candidates are leaning on heavy hitters. President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney have visited the state to campaign for Burr.
"Clearly, I believe the president is an asset," Burr said.
Sen. John Edwards will be in town Sunday to campaign for Bowles. This week, a WRAL poll shows Edwards has a lot of clout in the state. In fact, an Edwards-John Kerry ticket would make the presidential race a dead heat in North Carolina. Without Edwards, Bush wins easily.
"We'd love to see John Edwards on the national ticket," Monje said.
Neither camp has rolled out television ads yet. Burr will be in Greensboro Friday for the Republican State Convention. Bowles will be in Raleigh attending the state Legislative Black Caucus.