State Senate Republican leader Phil Berger did not nothing to quell talk that he might challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan in 2014.
At a pre legislative session briefing, Berger acknowledged that he had been approached about running.
“I am focused on what we are doing in the General Assembly at this time,” Berger said, coyly declining to either cite his interest or to rule out running.
“I will leave it to someone else when it is time for someone to make a decision about running for other office,” Berger said. “I am not running for any other office at this time.''
But he did take a shot at Hagan, for not supporting a measure included in the so-called fiscal cliff measure that dealt with the long-term extension of unemployment benefits.
“There is a significant amount of disappointment on my part by virtue of federal legislators, particularly Sen. Hagan, to make sure North Carolina had a grandfather provision that would have allowed us to craft a state solution to the unemployment insurance problem that would have actually been better for those unemployed and better for employers and better for the job climate in North Carolina.''
“That failure is actually going to end up costing businesses in North Carolina about $200 million and maybe as much as $400 million,'' Berger said.
Berger said state lawmakers asked for a provision that would have provided a grandfather clause that would have modified the disqualification for extension for benefits.
House Speaker Thom Tillis is also considering challenging Hagan in 2014.