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Elizabeth Dole Says She'd Consider Replacing Helms in Senate

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WASHINGTON, DC — Elizabeth Dole now says she's consideringrunning for the U.S. Senate from North Carolina next year if Senator Jesse Helms decides to retire.

The Salisbury native's name has been floated as a possiblecandidate by Republican political consultants, but she's previously declined to confirm her plans. Helms has said he'll announce by next month whether he plans to seek a sixth term in 2002.

G.O.P. activists say Dole's strengths include statewide namerecognition, a national fund-raising base and an appeal among female voters. Dole received her undergraduate degree from DukeUniversity in 1958 but has spent limited time in North Carolina since then. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Dole was transportation secretary under President Reagan and labor secretary under President George Bush. Dole then led the American Red Cross for eight years before launching a brief bid for president last year that was hindered by poor fund raising.

She's married to former U.S. Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, who was the Republican candidate for president in 1996.

Other Republicans also looking at a chance to succeed Helmsinclude Congressman Richard Burr of Winston-Salem, former CharlotteMayor Richard Vinroot, former U.S. Senator Lauch Faircloth and Lexington trial lawyer Jim Snyder.

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