Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., was ready to make announce a decision about running in the state’s high-profile Senate race today, but wrangling on the House floor over the Farm Bill, which passed in a narrow vote this afternoon, has her reconsidering.
“I’m not sure the decision I made was the right one,” Ellmers said in an interview, adding that she’ll take the next few weeks to reconsider before announcing whether she will enter the race against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. She said that she “owe(s) the people of North Carolina” a decision by August 1.
“Watching I’ve watched today, the way this has played out, I’m not sure that either side is very effective. ... I’m going to take the next couple of days and re-think my decision,” Ellmers said. Ellmers voted in favor of the Farm Bill, following hours of delay and sparring between both parties, as Republicans removed food stamp provisions from the legislation.
Asked whether she was implying that she had decided to stay in the House, Ellmers declined to comment.
Ellmers has continued to push back her timeline for a decision over the last month. A spokeswoman initially told Roll Call that she would decide by the end of June, but Ellmers recently pushed that timeline back two weeks -- to tomorrow.
But while other potential candidates, including state Senate President Phil Berger and Reverend Mark Harris have met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee to discuss the race, Ellmers has yet to reach out to the committee. Contrary to a report in the Raleigh News & Observer that we wrote about yesterday, Ellmers has not met with the NRSC, though she said she may meet with them as she reconsiders.
If she does enter the race, Ellmers will have to contend with state House Speaker Thom Tillis, and potentially several other candidates in the Republican primary, before getting a chance to take on Hagan. Though the senator is considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents this cycle and is a top-target for national Republicans, she already has a huge financial advantage on the GOP field. Hagan reported today that she raised $2 million in the second quarter of the year and has $4.2 million in the bank for her reelection. Ellmers has yet to release her second quarter report, but had a mere $134,000 on hand at the end of March.