Dole's lack of assertiveness, her hesitation and changed positions on issues like an outlying landing field near a national wildlife refuge and offshore oil drilling, her failure to use her position on the banking committee to more effect in averting the current economic crisis and her too-frequent absence from the state have distanced her from her constituents.
Her opponent, Kay Hagan, has represented Guilford County in the state Senate for 10 years, chairing the powerful budget committee for the past five years. The non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research named Hagan one of North Carolina's “Ten Most Effective Senators” during her last three terms.
"The disillusionment with the president can't be discounted as a factor in Dole's re-election struggle, but her real Achilles heel can be found in her own failure to meet the expectations North Carolinians had for her.
Dole has failed to translate her knowledge and experience into the kind of clout and activism that would make her a force in the Senate."