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Kay Hagan Won’t Challenge Richard Burr in 2016

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan will not be mounting a challenge to her former GOP colleague, Sen. Richard M. Burr.  

Hagan, who was defeated by Thom Tillis in 2014, has been making calls to inform donors she will not be running for the seat that comes up in 2016, two sources familiar with the calls told Roll Call.  

While Hagan’s statewide name recognition and relatively strong performance in a year that saw Republicans sweep into the Senate majority would have made her a top challenger to Burr, a national Democratic strategist said there are plenty of Democrats who could win this seat, including Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, state Treasurer Janet Cowell, longtime University of North Carolina President Tom Ross, and State Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein.  

Democrats will likely now work to convince Cowell to run. Cowell said no to a bid earlier this year, but Democrats say she would be a top candidate. They also believe Burr’s not that well known throughout the state and could prove vulnerable.  

The strategist also mentioned former Rep. Heath Shuler, the Blue Dog Democrat also known for his unsuccessful tenure as a Washington Redskins quarterback. He retired in 2012, after three terms.  

Democrats in the Tar Heel State had already been thinking about contingency plans in case Hagan declined to run. The North Carolina Senate seat on the ballot in 2016 is rated Leans Republican by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.


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