Congresswoman Virginia Foxx has announced that she will not be running for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Rep. Foxx was the subject of much speculation, particularly from left-leaning Public Policy Polling, but most observers did not expect her to make the race. Just a couple of weeks ago, Foxx said that she’s “been told not to say no yet”. Well, now she’s saying no. Foxx will instead seek re-election to the House. Given the makeup of the 5th congressional district, her victory there seems assured.
Republicans have probably caught a break, though Foxx’s entry was unlikely to begin with. As a conservative firebrand, Foxx would have been able to take the nomination with ease, but would have been a poor match against a moderate Democrat like Kay Hagan. The Hagan campaign and Tom Jensen are probably sorely disappointed with Foxx’s decision.
For months, Foxx led PPP’s polling of the Republican primary field. Behind Foxx were Phil Berger and Jim Cain, tied at 9%. But with Foxx out, last week’s poll means little. Where will her support go? Foxx’s strong lead was based not just on name recognition, but strong support from very conservative voters, particularly in her base in northwestern North Carolina. It would not be surprising if some of Foxx’s support went to Phil Berger, who shares the same geographic base. But it’s not at all clear that Berger wants to run. In fact, by PPP’s next round of polling, Berger will probably no longer be a potential candidate. He will instead seek reelection to his Senate seat and remain one of the most powerful figures in North Carolina.
That leaves Jim Cain. We still don’t know anything about his intentions, and maybe he doesn’t either. The field of potential candidates is being culled. Soon, the race will begin for real.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.