Easley Out; Dole Looking Strong

Gov. Mike Easley announced last week that he will not challenge Sen. Elizabeth Dole.  The decision comes as a great relief to the GOP, as Dole has trailed in recent polling.  While not among the country`s most popular Senators, Dole is now looking pretty good, as other potential challengers trail her by as many as 15 points.  The race could get interesting, but Dole`s prolific fundraising, for her own races, makes the challenge a formidable task for any Democrat, especially in a year in which the Presidential race is at the top of the ballot.  Ultimately, Easley`s decision likely means that the race will assume second tier status and probably be among those to fall by wayside as the cycle progresses.

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