Cooper Not Running for Senate in N.C.

Posted May 15, 2009 at 12:03pm

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) has decided not to run for Senate, leaving Democrats searching for another candidate to challenge Sen. Richard Burr (R) in 2010.

Cooper was the party’s first choice to challenge Burr, but the three-term statewide official said in a statement to the Raleigh News & Observer that he is not interested in coming to Capitol Hill.

“While I am honored by the encouragement I’ve received, I don’t want to go to Washington and serve as a U.S. Senator at this time,— Cooper told the newspaper. “I am committed to public service, and I want to serve here in North Carolina rather than in Washington.—

With Cooper out of the race, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee must go back to the drawing board to search for a top-tier candidate to challenge Burr, who they believe can be beaten in a state that is trending more Democratic.

“Given how vulnerable Sen. Burr is, we are 100 percent confident that there will be a strong challenger to Sen. Burr and this will be a competitive race,— DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz said.

National Democrats could look to several Democratic Members from North Carolina, including Reps. Bob Etheridge and Mike McIntyre, to run for the seat. Former state Treasurer Richard Moore, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and state Rep. Grier Martin are also possible targets of Democratic recruitment.

A recent automatic poll showed Burr with a 36 percent job approval rating, while 32 percent of respondents said they disapproved of the job that he is doing. Public Policy Polling surveyed775 North Carolina voters May 8-10 with a margin of error of 4 points.

Burr reported having $1.6 million in the bank at the end of March.