House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius has recently returned from Washington where he was making the rounds seeking support for a potential U.S. Senate bid next year.
One of his potential GOP opponents, Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden has already been up there, making contacts at the C-PAC conference held last month.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of Dunn seems to be inching toward a Senate candidacy, according to GOP watchers.
Scoping out the state in search of a Senate candidate in recent days has been Sal Russo, a leader of the Tea Party Express, a California-based group formed in 2009 that supports the Tea Party movement. Russo is a veteran political operative who has worked for such GOP political figures as Sen. Orrin Hatch, Congressman and vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp and Gov. George Pataki.
The Tea Party Express has endorsed such candidates as Christine O'Donnell, Marco Rubio, and Sharon Angle.
One candidate he likely looked over is Greg Bannon, a Cary Ob-GYN, the only Republican Senate candidate who has announced, and who has been active in Tea Party politics.