Senate Democrats Lose Another ‘Top Recruit’ in Josh Stein | NTK Network Senate Democrats Lose Another ‘Top Recruit’ in Josh Stein

Senate Democrats Lose Another ‘Top Recruit’ in Josh Stein

The North Carolina attorney general announced he will not challenge Sen. Thom Tillis but rather run for reelection in 2020.

By NTK Staff | 03.07.2019 @12:30pm
Senate Democrats Lose Another ‘Top Recruit’ in Josh Stein

Senate Democrats lost yet another top recruit this week when North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D-NC) announced he would seek reelection rather than challenge Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) for his U.S. Senate seat in 2020.

Stein was “a top recruit” of Democrats’, but ultimately Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and DSCC Chair Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) could not convince him to jump in the race. Stein was a top recruit in 2015, as well, but opted not to run against Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

Politico has more on other potential Tillis challengers:

“Other Democrats named by local operatives as potential Tillis’ challengers include state Sen. Jeff Jackson and former state Rep. Deborah Ross … Trevor Fuller, a Mecklenburg County commissioner, has already launched his bid.”

This is far from the first top-tier recruit that Democrats have failed to lure into difficult Senate challenges. Former cabinet secretary and Gov. Tom Vilsack announced last month he would not challenge Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa.

Democrats were hoping to convince former Gov. John Hickenlooper into challenging Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado, but he opted to run for president instead. Democrats fear the same will be true for Gov. Steve Bullock in Montana, where Sen. Steve Daines is up for reelection in 2020. And former Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced he will not challenge Sen. John Cornyn because he too may also run for president.

Of course, in the cases of all the would-be presidential contenders, there’s still plenty of time for those candidates to change their minds. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) ran for president in 2015 and then opted to run for reelection after failing to gain enough support in early contests.

Still, mounting a challenge to an incumbent senator is a very different and more difficult challenge than simply running for reelection. And these early recruitment failures are a major setback to Schumer’s ultimate goal of becoming majority leader in 2021.

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