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Democrats for Senate Intensifying Campaigning

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RALEIGH, N.C. — With three weeks before the primary, themajor Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate are intensifyingefforts to get out their message.

Elaine Marshall is caravanning around western North Carolina,Erskine Bowles is airing new commercials and Dan Blue is keeping tothe campaign trail to reach more undecided citizens.

Cynthia Brown will soon set aside her day job as a consultantfor nonprofits to focus on the Sept. 10 primary.

"She'll work two more days at the end of the month. Otherwise,she'll be out" campaigning, spokesman Ken McDouall said.

Marshall, the secretary of state, on Monday began her "MainStreet Marathon," a barnstorming tour of at least 67 communitiesin the next 17 days. She visited Gastonia, Lincolnton and Shelby.Stops were scheduled Tuesday for Asheville and other mountainpoints.

"The marathon is off to a good start," Marshall said by phonefrom outside a Shelby cafeteria where she met patrons Monday.

The tour began as Marshall and Blue have picked up theircriticism of Bowles, the former White House chief of staff. Bowleshas positioned himself as a front-runner for the party's nominationto replace outgoing Sen. Jesse Helms by focusing on a potentialgeneral election fight with Republican candidate Elizabeth Dole.

"Everybody needs to run to win. Erskine is running to win,"Bowles spokesman Brad Woodhouse said. "We think he certainly willbe the nominee."

Blue and Marshall think it's not so definite.

"He's got the most money and some people equate money withfront runner," Marshall said before her trip. "I'm focusing onwhat I think is important and if he thinks focusing on Mrs. Dole isimportant, that's his choice."

Marshall and Blue, who both trail the cash-flush Bowles infund-raising, have criticized him for his close connections to thecorporate world. They have tried to link some bad investments bythe New York investment firm for which Bowles worked to thecorporate accountability scandals.

"One of the major challenges we're going to have in thiscountry is restoring faith in the markets," Blue said late lastweek. "You need somebody who is not saddled with all of theserelationships with the corporate bottom line."

Bowles has strongly denied any links to these scandals and callthe accusations politically motivated.

"It's not surprising that other candidates are increasing theattacks on him," Woodhouse said.

Bowles continues to keep Dole in his sights, chiding her at aCharlotte campaign stop last week for her views on Social Security.

His campaign also unveiled two new television ads last week.

One focuses on his efforts in Washington working withRepublicans to get a balanced budget in place in 1997. The seconduses his trademark large eyeglasses to talk about working to geteye wear to all schoolchildren who need them. Blue's camp calledthe ads misleading.

Bowles, one of nine Democrats seeking the nomination, iscurrently the only major Senate candidate running televisioncommercials. Dole stopped her ads recently, apparently to hold cashfor the general election. The six other Republican candidates,largely unknown to the state's voters, haven't drawn anywhere nearas much attention in coverage or advertising.

Bowles has several events planned mostly in the Piedmont, with atrip to a senior center in Wilmington on Wednesday. Blue scheduledappearances in Charlotte on Tuesday as has Brown. She also plansappearances this week in Fayetteville and Asheville.

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