RALEIGH, N.C. — Richard Burr is making great strides in the race for U.S. Senate. In the past two months, he has cut Erskine Bowles' lead to nearly nothing. Some believe the new numbers are due to Burr's latest campaign ads, linking Bowles to his former boss, President Bill Clinton.
Peace College professor David McLennan calls it an effective strategy. He said although Clinton survived impeachment, his policies were not seen as favorable to North Carolinians and his scandals did not bode well.
"Even though Bowles was not associated with the scandals in any way, I think he's still associated with a very unpopular figure," he said.
Polls show that Bowles' association with Clinton has helped Burr narrow the gap as Bowles tries to turn a negative into a positive. Two months ago, a
WRAL Mason-Dixon poll
showed Bowles with a 10-point lead over Burr. The
shows Bowles holding steady, but his lead down to a single percentage point.
When asked whether his connection with Clinton is a negative in North Carolina, Bowles said, "Well, I think it cuts both ways. I was able, when I was chief of staff, to balance the federal budget."
"Bowles is trying to counter not so much by saying, I wasn't in the Clinton administration, which he can't say, but by talking fiscally conservative," McLennan said.
Bowles said he is not worried that the race has gotten close. He believes his counter-attacks will put him on top in the end.
"Richard Burr is going to have to learn he's not running against Bill Clinton. He's running against Erskine Bowles," he said.
The Burr campaign said it is more than just Clinton. The campaign believes Bowles' record in the White House is hurting him while increased name recognition is helping Burr.