“Democrats have shown that they have really targeted the governor’s race, but they haven’t really shown that they have done much to prepare for a contest against Richard Burr,” said Mitch Kokai, policy analyst for the right-leaning John Locke Foundation.
Two potential candidates are Chris Rey, an African-American veteran and the youngest-ever mayor of Spring Lake, North Carolina, and former state representative Deborah Ross. But Ross, a UNC law school graduate and former attorney, has yet to officially declare her candidacy.
“I think both Chris Rey and Deborah Ross appear to be good strong competitors who could lead the ticket going into the fall election cycle next year,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham.
But when asked if they viewed the potential candidates favorably, nearly 80 percent of people responded “not sure,” according to Public Policy Polling.
Kokai said Rey’s lack of name recognition could make campaigning difficult.
With Rey and Ross polling below 10 percent favorability, some question why former Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has not announced candidacy.
“I think there’s a fatigue factor. It’s hard to turn around immediately after you’ve been running hard for two years and people are all against you,” said Gary Pearce, a liberal political consultant.
Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, said Hagan faced a record-setting onslaught of negative attacks in her last run for office.