Former North Carolina state Rep. Deborah Ross entered the race against Sen. Richard M. Burr on Wednesday morning.
In a biographical video announcing her campaign, Ross says, “We all want a government that puts people first. That’s why I’m running for United States Senate.”
“No, I don’t have every answer, and I won’t promise to make all problems immediately disappear,” Ross continued. “But what I do have is a strong faith in America’s promise to make peoples’ lives better. Like every other challenge I’ve faced, I won’t back down just because it’s hard.”
Ross has been in conversation with state and national Democrats for some time, and last month she left her job as general counsel to the Research Triangle’s transportation agency to pursue a campaign.
As a progressive state legislator for 10 years from the Raleigh area, and before that, the state director for the American Civil Liberties Union, Ross is expected to be able to fire up the Democratic base and attract liberal donors.
But there are lingering concerns that Ross could be too liberal to win a general election in a purple state — even in a presidential year.
Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey is already in the race, but Democrats in the state don’t expect him to be competitive. State Rep. Duane Hall announced Tuesday that he would seek re-election rather than the Senate seat.
State Sen. Joel Ford, the former chairman of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party, has been considering a bid. Other Democrats may still get in the race, but with the primary moved up from May to March 15, they’re running out of time.
Democrats have been slow to recruit for this Leans Republican contest after their top choice, former Sen. Kay Hagan, passed on the race , followed by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and North Carolina and state Treasurer Janet Cowell.
Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.