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Ellmers will not seek US Senate seat

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Congresswoman Renee Ellmers will run for re-election in the U.S. House of Representatives rather make a bid for the Senate. Congresswoman Renee Ellmers will run for re-election in the U.S. House of Representatives rather make a bid for the Senate.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers announced Tuesday that she will run for re-election in the U.S. House of Representatives rather make a bid for the Senate.

"There is still plenty of time to look at future positions like the Senate and I will do my best to support the Republican candidate for this seat," Ellmers said. "I feel the best job I can do for the people of North Carolina and the Second District is to continue fighting for them in the House."

Ellmers had been one of several names within the GOP being considered to take on incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan. Hagan has held the Senate seat since defeating Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole in 2008.

Hagan's seat is one of four held by Democrats in states that Republican Mitt Romney won during his 2012 presidential big. National GOP leaders are aiming to pick up those seats to take control of the Senate in 2015.

In June, North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis announced that he would seek the seat, making him the first high-profile Republican to announce a bid. Tea party favorite and physician Greg Brannon of Cary has said he's also planning a run.

Other Republicans considering seeking the GOP Senate nomination are state Senate leader Phil Berger, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx and Southern Baptist leader the Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte.

Hagan, a former state senator from Greensboro, received 53 percent of the vote in 2008 in unseating Dole, an upset attributed in part to the strong showing of then-candidate Barack Obama in North Carolina.

In a statement, Ellmers said the Republican Party learned a lot from the 2012 elections that is causing the party to undergo a "much-needed conversation."

"For the sake of our party's future, it's absolutely necessary to make a conscientious effort on our part to do many things, in particular, we need to do a much better job listening, connecting, and reaching out to women," Ellmers said.

She added, "What I've come to realize is that rather than walk away, I need to stay here and work with my colleagues to find the solutions for our great nation and the American people."

A recent Public Policy Poll has Hagan in the lead over potential Republican challengers, including Tillis. PPP said voters have mixed feelings about Hagan overall, with 43 percent approving to 45 percent disapproving of her work so far in the U.S. Senate.

For the Republican field, PPP said 16 percent of those who responded said their top choice would be Foxx; 11 percent each pick Berger, Jim Cain and Ellmers; 7 percent pick Brannon, 5 percent pick Tillis.

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