RALEIGH, N.C. — The presumed Democratic candidates for president and vice president, John Kerry and John Edwards, respectively, had the microphone at North Carolina State over the weekend.
Monday, state Republicans began to fire back with their plan to win the south.
State Republicans signed up some heavy hitters. Sen. Elizabeth Dole announced Monday that she will lead the re-election campaign for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in North Carolina.
"Americans aren't looking for a president who puts his finger up in the air to see which way the political winds are blowing," Dole said.
Republican congressmen will serve as co-chairs.
Dole said Bush deserves to be re-elected. The key will be getting the message out.
"What we do is talk about all the great things that are happening," Dole said. "The economy is moving forward, certainly the president's tax relief."
Dole said she does not believe the state will vote Democratic even with a vice presidential candidate from North Carolina on the ticket. Nevertheless, she said the Bush/Cheney campaign will spend more time and money here than they have previously.
Some other heavy hitters signed up to help in the president's re-election campaign, including retired Sen. Jesse Helms, former Gov. James Holshouser and former Gov. James Martin.
The official crowd estimate from
Saturday's Kerry/Edwards rally,
according to the N.C. State police, was 15,000 people.
The state director for the campaign, Morgan Jackson, is riding high. He is working from a small office trying to hire staff and open up a store-front headquarters a few blocks from the Capitol.
Jackson wants to keep the momentum going with a grassroots campaign.
"One of the main things we are going to be doing is getting folks organized," Jackson said, "getting folks affiliated with the campaign, signing up volunteers."