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2004 United States Senate election in North Carolina

The 2004 United States Senate election in North Carolina was held on November 2, 2004. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator John Edwards decided to retire from the Senate after one term in order to run unsuccessfully for the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination, and become his party's vice presidential nominee. Republican Richard Burr won the open seat, making it the fifth consecutive election in which partisan control of the seat changed.

United States Senate election in North Carolina, 2004

← 1998 November 2, 2004 2010 →
  Richard Burr official portrait crop.jpg Erskine Bowles in 2010 (cropped).jpg
Nominee Richard Burr Erskine Bowles
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,791,450 1,632,527
Percentage 51.6% 47.0%

North Carolina Senatorial Election Results by County, 2004.svg
County Results

Burr:      40-50%      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%

Bowles:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. Senator before election

John Edwards

Elected U.S. Senator

Richard Burr




Erskine Bowles won the Democratic Party's nomination unopposed. He had been the party's nominee for the state's other Senate seat in 2002.


2004 North Carolina U.S. Senate Republican primary election[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Richard Burr 302,319 87.92%
Republican John Ross Hendrix 25,971 7.55%
Republican Albert Wiley 15,585 4.53%
Turnout 343,875

General electionEdit



Both major-party candidates engaged in negative campaign tactics, with Bowles' campaign attacking Burr for special interest donations and his positions on trade legislation, and Burr's campaign attacking Bowles for his connections to the Clinton administration. Both attacks had basis in reality: Burr's campaign raised funds from numerous political action committees and at least 72 of the 100 largest Fortune 500 companies, while Bowles departed from the Clinton administration in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Burr won the election by 4%. He joined the Senate in January 2005. Bowles went on to become the president of the UNC system.


2004 North Carolina U.S. Senate election[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Richard Burr 1,791,450 51.60% +4.58%
Democratic Erskine Bowles 1,632,527 47.02% –4.13%
Libertarian Tom Bailey 47,743 1.38% –0.46%
Nonpartisan Walker F. Rucker (write-in) 362 0.01% N/A
Turnout 3,471,720

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "North Carolina DataNet #46" (PDF). University of North Carolina. April 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 25, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2009.