Local News

Tobacco Buyout May Play Role In U.S. Senate Race

Posted October 15, 2004 4:57 a.m. EDT

— The tobacco buyout is a high-profile issue in the race for North Carolina's seat in the U.S. Senate.

Days after Congress passed the tobacco buyout, Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Erskine Bowles, North Carolina's two candidates for U.S. Senate, are celebrating with tobacco growers.

"The timing was either now or never. That's the reality of where we have been over the last several months," Burr said.

"It's important to the farmers and to their families and their communities," Bowles said.

Both candidates said they worked their influence. Burr was on a joint House and Senate Committee. Bowles flew to Washington to talk to senators.

"A lot of us believe that some helped more than others or influence things in different ways," grower Keith Parish said.

"I can assure you that both candidates contributed and did their very best to make sure that this buyout happened for farmers in rural communities in North Carolina," said Larry Wooten, of the N.C. Farm Bureau.

The buyout may be more important symbolically than anything else. Political analysts said the average North Carolina voter is more concerned about jobs and health care.

Both Senate candidates plan to criss-cross the state, campaigning every day up to Election Day.