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Edwards' Campaign May Be Drawing Attention Away From Senate Candidates

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Both politicial parties believe this year's North Carolina race is pivotal for control of power, but it has been a quiet Senate race so far between Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Erskine Bowles.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said it is critical to put another North Carolina senator in President George W. Bush's corner.

"Richard Burr is clearly one of the best qualified candidates I've seen," he said. "He's done a great job for the people of North Carolina in the U.S. House. He deserves a promotion."

However at this point in the campaign, neither of the announced candidates, Burr or Bowles, have spent any money on TV ads.

Susan Lagana, Bowles' press secretary said that while holding off on ads for now, the Democratic Senate hopeful has campaigned hard in the west and east. Both campaigns believe Edwards' presidential bid has dominated media coverage.

"It's a little bit quiet. The cameras are pointed south right now, but we're still out there and people are definitely interested in this race," Lagana said.

While many North Carolina Republicans already consider Richard Burr their U.S. Senate nominee, it is not yet official for the Democrats. Dan Blue told WRAL Monday that he still has not decided whether he will run against Bowles.