Candidates jumped both in and out of upcoming Senate races this week. Republicans netted a top candidate in North Carolina, but also got one they probably didn’t want in Alaska. However, they’re still searching for a recruit in Colorado, while Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has his first opponent. Here’s what you might have missed:
Tills is in: Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., has her first major GOP challenger, with state House Speaker Thom Tillis announcing Friday he’s in against the first term Democrat. Tillis, who helped the Tar Heel State gain sweeping majorities in its legislature, has been long expected to enter the race. Other possible candidates include Rep. Virginia Foxx, former Ambassador Jim Cain, state Senate President Phil Berger and former Charlotte City Councilman Lynn Wheeler. Tea party activist Greg Brannon had already announced his candidacy.
Miller time: One candidate national Republicans may not have been as happy to see jump in – 2010 Alaska Senate nominee Joe Miller has filed paperwork to run again in 2014, this time against Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. Miller, who defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 GOP primary, only to lose a write-in bid to her in the general election, filed a form of intent with the FEC on May 2. Miller will likely have competition in the primary, with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan looking at bids.
Calling all candidates in Colorado: GOP Rep. Cory Gardner said this week he’ll pass on challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, leaving Republicans still needing a challenger in a key swing state. As National Journal’s Hotline pointed out, while Republicans are jumping in the governor’s race, no one is licking their chops to challenge the first-term Democrat in what should be a competitive seat on paper.
Nebraska list shrinks: Both Gov. Dave Heineman and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry crossed their names off the list as interested in seeking the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb. But Republicans shouldn’t worry in this GOP-leaning state. Former state Treasurer Shane Osborn is still likely to run, among others, including previous Senate candidates Pete Ricketts, former state Attorney General Jon Bruning and former state Treasurer Don Stenberg.
First Franken challenger. It’s no joke – comedian-turned Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has a GOP challenger, with wealthy businessman Mike McFadden launching his campaign this week. McFadden, the CEO of financial services firm Lazard Middle Market, can likely put his own money into the campaign, but that doesn’t mean it will be an easy bid against the first-term Democrat. As Politico noted this week, even though Franken only won in 2008 by 312 votes after a protracted recount, he’s not a top GOP target this cycle.