Former Ambassador Jim Cain is seriously considering seeking the Republican Senate nomination in North Carolina next year.
"The race is indeed something that I am considering," Cain told CQ Roll Call in an email from China. "Many friends and supporters around the state are encouraging me to challenge Senator [Kay] Hagan."
Cain is a former Republican National committeeman and served as ambassador to Denmark during President George W. Bush's second term. An attorney at Kilpatrick Townsend, Cain previously served as president and chief operating officer of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes. His candidacy would likely draw significant support from the Raleigh business community.
Despite the state's GOP lean, Republicans know they will have a tough fight against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. Still, several Republicans are considering taking her on.
State Speaker Thom Tillis is likely to join the race at some point after the legislative session ends early this summer. Both parties are awaiting his candidacy, with state Democrats already regularly targeting Tillis in released statements.
Sources in the state said Rep. Virginia Foxx is also taking a close look at the race. So is state Senate President Phil Berger, but the two allies are unlikely to run against each other.
Other potential candidates include Rep. Renee Ellmers, former Charlotte City Councilman Lynn Wheeler and the Rev. Mark Harris, who recently announced to his Baptist church congregation that he was considering a bid.