Leading Off:• NC-Sen: On Tuesday night, Roll Call reported that former Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan will not be challenging Republican incumbent Richard Burr next year, and she soon confirmed the story. National Democrats made it no secret that they wanted Hagan back. She proved to be a tough campaigner in 2014, and she only narrowly lost re-election to Thom Tillis in her light red state despite a GOP wave. However, polls show that Hagan is still unpopular following the nasty contest, and it’s quite possible that Democrats will be better off with a fresh face.
Well, like it or not, they’re going to need to search for that fresh face if they want to unseat Burr. However, while many Hagan alternatives have been mentioned, there’s no one who sounds ready to step up to the plate. State Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, who ran for the Senate back in 2002, didn’t rule anything out after Hagan’s decision became public, but he didn’t sound particularly likely to go for it.
Tar Heel State Democrats have mentioning quite a few other names, but so far they all appear to be pretty uninterested. State Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein has recently been name-dropped, but he would need to pull the plug on his plans to run for attorney general. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, a former Charlotte mayor, has also been talked about, but he’s already told Burr he won’t go for it. One name we can cross off completely is state Treasurer Janet Cowell, who quickly announced that she is “committed to running for re-election as Treasurer in North Carolina.”
A few other Democrats have been mentioned, but have said nothing about their intentions. Conservative ex-Reps. Mike McIntyre and Heath Shuler are two notable possibilities. We also haven’t heard from outgoing University of North Carolina President Tom Ross, state Rep. Grier Martin, or ex-state Sen. and 2010 candidate Cal Cunningham.
Whoever eventually jumps in won’t have an easy time against Burr….
• CT-Sen, NY-Sen: So, two things. First off, you should not try recruiting the same dude for two different Senate races in two different states at the same time. As Gene Hackman’s character says in the movie Heist, it’s insincere. Oh and secondly, the guy you are trying to recruit should not be Larry Kudlow, under any set of circumstances, ever. Believe it or not, the wrong-about-everything conservative pundit considered bids in both Connecticut and New York two cycles ago, the same states the NRSC would reportedly like him to run in now. Hey, maybe he could do both!
• NH-Sen: With Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan reportedly still mulling whether or not to challenge GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Ending Spending is the latest conservative organization that’s working to deter her. The group says that they’ll spend millions to help Ayotte regardless of what Hassan does, and they’ll launch their first spot after the July 4 weekend. Impact America Action is already spending $1 million hitting Hassan, a top Democratic recruit, in order to dissuade her from taking on Ayotte.