U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole has returned to the campaign trail, declaring her intentions to seek a second term in what she calls “the worst political environment in memory.”
“I am going to need your help as we rev up the campaign for 2008,” Dole, R-N.C., told supporters at a barbecue Friday.
Some had speculated whether the 70-year-old Dole would continue her political career. She recently underwent hip replacement surgery, has been slow to assemble a campaign staff and had raised only $245,016 in campaign funds at the end of 2006.
Dole strategist Mark Stephens said the senator does not feel a sense of urgency because Democrats have had difficulty recruiting a viable candidate.
Dole spent the past two years as the chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, leading the party through elections that saw Democrats take control of the Senate on public opposition to the Iraq war. She still supports President Bush and the war, including the administration’s troop buildup.
Dole ran for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination but dropped her campaign before the primaries. In 1996, her husband, Bob Dole, was the GOP nominee for president.
She handily defeated Democrat Erskine Bowles, now president of the University of North Carolina, for her Senate seat in 2002. She spent $13 million in that election and expressed confidence that her re-election bid would also be adequately funded.
Copyright Ã‚Â© 2007 The Associated Press