Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan won’t run for Senate in 2016, disappointing Democrats counting on her to unseat Republican Richard Burr in what will be a major swing state race.
Hagan was unseated by Republican Thom Tillis in 2014 after one term in the Senate, and has struggled in the polls since, but was the obvious pick to challenge Burr. She’s been calling donors and supporters to inform them she won’t run, reported Roll Call.
Hagan performed relatively well in an election where Republicans secured big majorities in the House and Senate, and supporters figured she could unseat Burr with Hillary Clinton on the ticket and the typically larger voter turnout in a presidential election year.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee called Hagan’s decision an “embarrassing recruitment failure” in a statement Wednesday. But a strategist with ties to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Commitee told the National Journal there are plenty of viable candidates to turn to.
The strategist mentioned Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, North Carolina Sen. Josh Stein, former North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler, University of North Carolina Pres. Tom Ross and State Treasurer Janet Cowell, saying they are all “more than formidable.”
But Foxx has said publicly he’s not running, and Stein is running for attorney general in 2016. Shuler, who retired in 2012 after three terms, is a possibility, but he has not expressed interest in running. Neither has Ross. Cowell is considered the most likely option, but she announced in April she will run for reelection as treasurer.
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