Just in case you forgot, the Democrats are still looking for a Senate candidate to challenge Richard Burr. In the past month or so, a number of names have popped up: State Rep. Duane Hall, former State Rep. Deborah Ross, and Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey. Now it looks like we can add a new name to the mix: State Senator Joel Ford.

Ford would be an interesting candidate. He’s African American, from Charlotte, and sees himself as more of a moderate. He’s also vice chair of the Main Street Democrats. In short, it would be hard to depict him as a hardcore liberal.

He’s also working to contrast himself with another potential candidate, Deborah Ross, who would fire up the progressive base but would almost certainly be the most liberal nominee in the state’s history. Ford’s strength would be in boosting black turnout, especially in Charlotte. Combined with an aggressive Democratic presidential campaign in North Carolina, a good year, and perhaps some missteps from Burr along the way, there’s a path to victory for Ford.

Ford’s definitely not a guarantee to run, though. As he notes in the Roll Call article, the DSCC called him, not the other way around. He’d have to give up his Senate seat to run so he’d probably have to be persuaded that he’d have a real chance at victory.

And Heath Shuler? It’s almost time to cross him off the list of potential candidates. He’s apparently not making any calls around the state or doing anything that makes him look like he’s seriously still considering the race. When reached for comment, a spokesman said that Shuler’s focus was Duke Energy, “a great company” – the third time he’s made a statement to that effect. (The governor extends his gratitude.)

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