Rep. Richard Burr, a conservative five-term House Republican, won the Senate seat that opened up when the state's junior senator, Edwards, ran on the national ticket instead of seeking reelection. Despite the state's heavy preference for Bush, Burr won a relatively narrow victory -- 52 percent -- over Erskine B. Bowles, a Charlotte banker and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.
It was a defeat that may have doomed Bowles's persistent Senate ambitions. Two years ago, he lost, 54 percent to 45 percent, the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jesse Helms to Elizabeth Dole. Bowles trailed throughout the 2002 race, but this time he started out strongly against Burr. Before long, though, his early 10-point lead in the polls evaporated. Ultimately, he garnered 47 percent to Burr's 52 percent.
Burr staked his race on themes that have won him reelection in the past: support for tobacco farmers and the U.S. military and an appeal to religious conservatives. Bowles argued that he could offer economic leadership for textile and tobacco workers who have watched their jobs dry up or move overseas. But voters did not connect with his diffident style, and Burr's ads played up Bowles's ties to Clinton, who is not popular in rural North Carolina.
Burr's House seat went to Republican Virginia Foxx, who won 59 percent of the vote to Democrat Jim Harrell's 41 percent. A second House seat vacated by a retiring Republican in the state's 10th District will stay in GOP hands with the election of Patrick McHenry, who beat Democrat Anne Fischer.
In western North Carolina, Republican Rep. Charles H. Taylor, chairman of an Appropriations subcommittee, fought off a strong challenge from Democratic County Commissioner Patsy Keever, consolidating 55 percent of the vote by the time the counting was over.
New Jersey (15)
New Jersey, which was an easy win for Kerry, voted heavily Democratic, as it has in the two previous presidential elections. Though the state was deeply affected by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in which 700 of its residents were killed, Bush decided it was a losing proposition and chose not to devote much time or money there.
Statewide, the House incumbents won reelection.
Pennsylvania was supposed to be a cliffhanger in this election, a battleground state in which both candidates had invested heavily. Bush made more than 40 trips there during the campaign, but in the end the vote was not terribly close. A large voter-registration drive by Democrats helped Kerry hold the lead through Election Day, finally posting a solid 51 percent in the Keystone state to Bush's 49 percent.
Republican Sen. Arlen Specter narrowly survived an unexpectedly strong challenge by Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel III, a suburban Philadelphia Democrat. It was the second tough battle this year for Specter, who staved off a primary challenge from well-financed Republican Rep. Pat Toomey.
Specter won that primary 51 percent to 49 percent, amid charges from Toomey and others in the GOP that Specter is too liberal. Specter is slated to take over the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Hoeffel's candidacy opened up a House seat that was snagged by Democratic state Sen. Allyson Y. Schwartz, who defeated Republican ophthalmologist Melissa M. Brown.
In a competitive House race in the Allentown-Bethlehem area, Republican state Sen. Charles Dent defeated Joe Driscoll, a redevelopment consultant, for the seat Toomey has held for three terms.
Democratic Rep. Tim Holden won reelection in a Harrisburg area district over Republican Scott Paterno, son of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.
Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach appeared to have squeaked to victory despite a strong challenge by Democratic lawyer Lois Murphy in the 6th District.