North Carolina U.S. Senate election, 1998
Incumbent Duncan McLauchlin "Lauch" Faircloth, Republican
John R. Edwards, Democrat
This is the race that launched John Edwards' political career. Lauch Faircloth, a protege of Jesse Helms and a strong critic of President Bill Clinton's behavior during the Lewinsky scandal, was upset in the election by a young trial lawyer with no previous political experience. Edwards used his own money to fund the race. Once in the Senate, he was immediately recognized for his oratorical prowess and was put to work by his colleagues to help defend Clinton during the perjury trial.