Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge said today that he is giving some thought to running against Republican Sen. Richard Burr next year.
Etheridge, a Lillington Democrat, said he has been courted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as a potential candidate, reports Rob Christensen.
“I’m evaluating it,” Etheridge said during a meeting Wednesday with reporters and editors at The News & Observer.
Etheridge said he met recently with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and had discussions with family members and a few key supporters. Etheridge said he hoped to make a decision by September.
The backing of the DSCC is important because Senate races have become nationalized. The DSCC spent at least $10 million on behalf of Democrat Kay Hagan last year, playing a pivotal role in her defeat of Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
Etheridge said it was a particularly difficult decision because he is the first Tar Heel in 56 years to serve as a member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee.
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The DSCC had initially tried to recruit state Attorney General Roy Cooper into the race, but he announced this spring that he would not run.
Etheridge said the party made a run at him earlier this year and he said no. But they have come back at him again in recent weeks and this time he is listening.
The party has been attracted to Etheridge because he is regarded as a moderate, a proven vote getter and an accomplished fundraiser.
One Democrat, Durham attorney Kenneth Lewis, has announced his candidacy for the Senate seat. At least four others are considering it: former state Sen. Cal Cunningham of Lexington, Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, and former Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker.