Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis acknowledged Wednesday that he is considering a possible bid for U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's seat in 2014 but a decision won't come until June at the earliest.
"You can't not think about what you are going to do because I term-limited myself," said Tillis, who is serving his final two-year term. "It would be disingenuous to say you are not thinking about what you do, but there is a lot of opportunity out there that are just not political, professional opportunities and other things. ...It's something I'll deal with after June" when the legislature is expected to wrap up.
Tillis is considered by political insiders as a leading candidate for the GOP nomination. He spent the last year touring the state holding town halls to reach party activists and interested voters. But a recent Public Policy Polling survey showed he faces steep odds with just 2 percent support at this point, below other more well-know Republicans. His comments Wednesday are his most extensive on the topic so far, though he remained guarded. He wouldn't rule out a bid but cautioned, "I"m not ruling it in."
The specter of a Tillis bid is overshadowing the 2013 legislative session. A below-the-radar power struggle is at work in the Republican caucus as leaders vie to replace Tillis. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger is also considered a potential candidate.