New York has Hillary. North Carolina may get Liddy.

Former cabinet member Elizabeth Dole has officially entered the race for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jesse Helms, her spokesman said Saturday in the state capital of Raleigh.

"She's officially in," Dole spokesman Jay Warshaw said Saturday. "Mrs. Dole has filed the necessary paperwork required for her campaign to move forward."

Dole, 65, has continued to visit her mother and hometown about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte over the years, and has said she considers Salisbury home, even though her career took her to Washington. She has served as the secretary of labor and secretary of transportation. She also headed the Red Cross.

After Helms announced he would not seek re-election next year, Dole changed her registration to North Carolina and listed her residence as her childhood home, where her mother still lives.

Dole had planned to announce her bid for the Republican nomination in Salisbury on Sept. 11, but that was put off because of the terrorist attacks.

Former Charlotte mayor Richard Vinroot and retired physician Ada Fisher also are seeking the GOP nomination.

Vying for the Democratic bid are state Rep. Dan Blue and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

The primary election is next May.

The Associated Press contributed to this report