Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., announced on Thursday that he will not challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in the 2014 Senate race.
The five-term member’s name was floated in the state as a potential challenger to the first-term Democrat — who is considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for re-election this cycle – and recent polls put him at the top of the heap among a handful of potential GOP candidates.
However, McHenry said in a statement that he “has too much to get done” in the House and thus is declining to enter the race.
“My colleagues in the House have entrusted me with important responsibilities as a subcommittee chairman on the Financial Services Committee as well as leading recruitment efforts for the” National Republican Congressional Committee, McHenry said. “But with her unwavering support for President Obama’s failed policies, I have no doubt that North Carolinians will think twice before sending Kay Hagan back to Washington.”
Flipping the Democratic-held seat is a top target for the GOP, which needs a net gain of six seats to regain the Senate majority. President Barack Obama lost the state in 2012 to Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and the GOP also picked up the governor’s mansion last cycle.
(See also in Roll Call: Rothenberg: Most Vulnerable of ’14? Pryor by a Hair)
Other potential GOP candidates include Rep. Renee Ellmers, who says she will make a decision on whether to run by June, as well as state Speaker Thom Tillis and state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.
(See also in Roll Call: Ellmers Will Decide on Hagan Challenge in June)