Dole, a former transportation secretary and labor secretary, had about 54 percent of the vote, with two-thirds of precincts reporting. Bowles, who was White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration, had 45 percent of the vote.
"I'm as thrilled as you are. We'll never forget this night, will we?" Dole, a former head of the national Red Cross, asked cheering supporters at a train depot in her hometown of Salisbury.
"Just a few moments ago, I had a call from Erskine Bowles. He congratulated me on my victory," she said.
Doles will be the first female senator from North Carolina when she begins her term in January.
Bowles, a Charlotte investment banker, spoke to his supporters in Raleigh as Dole was delivering her victory speech. He said his campaign was a chance to "stand up for what I believe."
Dole aligned herself with President Bush during her campaign. Bush visited the state three times to campaign for her.