Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., announced Tuesday she has hired Preston Elliott to be her 2014 campaign manager in a race that's expected to be among Democrats' toughest this cycle.
An experienced operative, Elliott served as campaign manager for Sen. Jon Tester's re-election campaign in Montana, one of the most heavily targeted races of the 2012 cycle. He is also a veteran of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's 2010 re-election effort, and he was the deputy political director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
"I am so pleased to have Preston on board as my campaign manager," Hagan said in a statement. "He has a proven track record of success, and with his help and the help of North Carolinians of all walks of life, I expect to cross the finish line with a victory in November 2014."
Obstetrician and tea party supporter Greg Brannon is the first Republican challenger to enter the race.
But Republicans say Brannon won't be the only — or the strongest — contender. They name state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rep. Renee Ellmers, state Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry as potential candidates.
Correction Dec. 10, 2014, 11:23 a.m.
A previous version of this article misspelled Preston Elliott's name in the headline.