Sen. Dole, the inept head of the NRSC for the 2006 cycle, has declared that she will seek reelection in 2008. Dole burned many a bridge with conservatives by going all out in support of Sen. Lincoln Chafee in his primary against conservative Steve Laffey, and starts the race with an abysmal warchest. While remaining fairly popular in North Carolina, recent polls show her trailing Democrat Gov. Mike Easley, who cannot seek reelection in 2008. Should Easley decide to run, the Senate race would immediately become one of the cycle`s most competitive, offering not only an opportunity for Democrats to expand their majority, but also an opportunity for them to make gains in the South, a region in which they have been dominated in recent cycles. Should Easley decide not to make the bid, Dole would be the favorite, but certainly not a prohibitive one.