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Burr Campaign Picks Up Steam In Race For Edwards' Seat

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OXFORD, N.C. — Rep. Richard Burr is stepping up his campaign to replace John Edwards in the United States Senate.

Burr is one of three people whose names have been mentioned as viable candidates. The others are Democrats Erskine Bowles and Dan Blue.

Burr has driven more than 3,000 miles in his whistle-stop tour across the state. Greeting people at a Henderson restaurant Tuesday was central to the Republican lawmaker's strategy for moving from the U.S. House to the Senate.

"I am here today to announce that I'm running for the United States Senate," Burr said. "I'm here to shake your hand and look you in the eye and ask you for your vote."

Burr talked about bringing more jobs to towns that have been devastated by layoffs. Henderson has lost more than 1,000 textile jobs.

Later, at a tobacco warehouse in Granville County, Burr talked about a tobacco buyout, indicating a proposed compromise will be on the table in a couple of weeks.

For the past eight days, Burr has campaigned in 39 towns. He will end his tour with a clear understanding of what the voters are telling him.

"Jobs is a crucial issue in North Carolina, in every community," Burr said. "It's either the loss of jobs or the fear of losing their job."

Burr said he wants the U.S. government to enforce its trade agreements and provide incentives for companies that invest here.

"We also need to do a job of recruiting industry throughout North Carolina, so that there's always something in the pipeline that allows us the opportunity to train people to move into," Burr said.

The five-term congressman from Winston-Salem said he's ready and determined to represent the whole state on Capitol Hill.

Bowles, meanwhile, has talked to factory workers in the Charlotte and Triad areas this week. Friday, he will make stops in Henderson and Oxford.

As for Blue, he told WRAL he still was considering his options.