U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler may already have a 2010 challenger.
To be sure, Shuler has had star power and attractiveness as a candidate for bigger things ever since his stunning upset of Taylor. A teetotaling pro-life Democrat, Shuler hews to the middle in his votes and his public life. He recently was honored by the National Federation of Small Business for his pro-business voting record. The NRA likes him.
But Burr is no pushover. He's reliably conservative and has seldom strayed from the Bush position but he is no ideologue. He has made his mark working across party lines on several issues, among them reform of the National Institutes of Health spending and creation of an agency to fight bioterrorism.
The paper adds that Henderson County Sheriff George Erwin, the Western North Carolina campaign coordinator for former GOP gubernatorial candidate Fred Smith, is "seriously looking" at running for Shuler's Congressional seat.