How much time has U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole spent here?
Hitting the campaign trail heavily this year, the Salisbury Republican has spent more than three months on the road in North Carolina.
But a survey by Media General News Service of Senate records, news accounts and press releases show that's a marked increase from the days spent here in previous years:
2008: 97 (as of Sept. 26)
Dole and her supporters note that she has visited every North Carolina county while in office and a number of small towns. They also said that they could not find documentation for many of those visits, arguing the news service was undercounting her time here.
"Unfortunately, we're guilty until proven innocent in terms of how many days we spent there, because we can't document every single trip with an airline receipt," said chief of staff Brian Nick.
Critics of Dole cite her time here as proof that she is an "absentee" senator.
Update: Nick said she visited the state "multiple times" to visit her family and do official business, paying for those trips out of her own pocket. For that reason, the trips do not show up in any Senate records.
"The limited criteria used by Media General only reflect when taxpayers paid for Senator Dole's trips or when news accounts reflected public events," he wrote Dome in an e-mail. "Such narrow criteria leave out countless trips home that Senator Dole took either for official, political or personal reasons. For instance, she would pay for her own travel expenses, rather than bill the taxpayers, when she would visit her recently deceased brother in Charlotte, or when she would go home to see her late mother in Salisbury."