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Kay Hagan Heads to Harvard

Hagan served one term as a North Carolina Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Hagan served one term as a North Carolina Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Don’t expect to hear from former Sen. Kay Hagan about her 2016 plans for the next few months.  

The North Carolina Democrat, who lost to Republican Sen. Thom Tillis by less than two points last year, will be serving as a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, according to a Thursday announcement . As part of her duties, she will lead a series of study groups for students during the Spring semester, which ends in May.  

Notably, Hagan will serve as a fellow alongside one of the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s top aides, former deputy executive director Matt Lira, who worked to defeat her last cycle. The other spring fellows at the Harvard Institute of Politics are former Massachusetts Attorney General and failed gubernatorial nominee Martha Coakley; Christine Quinn, former speaker of the New York City Council; and Jay Newton-Small, a TIME Washington correspondent.  

Democratic operatives said Hagan she ran one of the strongest campaigns of the cycle , and they chalk up her defeat to a bad midterm climate for the party. Some Democrats hope she’ll wage a comeback bid in 2016, when Sen. Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., will seek a third term .  

A spokesman for Hagan, Chris Hayden, said he had no information about her plans “beyond this fellowship.”  

“Sen. Hagan is excited to start her Fellowship at Harvard’s Institute of Politics,” Hayden said.  

But a source close to Hagan noted she will finish the fellowship with plenty of time for a candidate to announce a bid.  

“When you look at the bench of Democratic candidates in North Carolina, the party would be exceptionally well served if she wanted to run again,” the source said. “It’s in her blood, it’s what she likes to do. I certainly would not read the Harvard thing as ruling it out.”  

Democrats hope to target Burr’s seat in 2016, as the party looks to pick-up at least four Senate seats to ensure control of the chamber. North Carolina’s changing demographics have made it a swing state in presidential years. President Barack Obama carried it in 2008 by 1-point margin, while GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won it in 2012 by a 3-point margin.  

North Carolina’s Senate race is rated a Leans Republican contest by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.  

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