Hayden Rogers, chief of staff to Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) until earlier this week, announced a bid for Congress in North Carolina's 11th district today.
Rogers is widely considered to be the only Democrat who has a shot at keeping the district for the party since Shuler announced last week that he will retire.
During redistricting, the Republican-controlled Legislature drew the 11th to be the most Republican in the state, so Rogers will face a steep uphill climb in a district that would have voted more than 58 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election.
Rogers is seen as being of the same political mold as Shuler, a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat.
“It has truly been an honor to work on behalf of Western North Carolina alongside Congressman Shuler for the past six years," Rogers said in a statement. "As a proud North Carolinian, I am humbled to have the opportunity to continue fighting for the families across the 11th District.
“I have seen first-hand how broken the political process can be in Washington. The divisive partisan gamesmanship does nothing to meet the challenges before us as a nation. Future generations of Americans are depending on us to face those challenges sincerely and directly," he said. " I will work across the aisle and with all honest people to solve them.”
National Republicans see the 11th as one of their ripest targets for a pickup this cycle.
“There is no one more qualified to carry on Heath Shuler’s legacy of supporting big-government policies that have made life harder for North Carolina taxpayers than his chief of staff,” said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.