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Berger Will Not Run Against Senator Hagan

One more prominent Republican is taking a pass on North Carolina’s much-watched U.S. Senate race in 2014, but the field of challengers remains far from settled.

State Senate leader Phil Berger announced Monday he will not make a bid to challenge Democrat Kay Hagan, ending weeks of speculation about his political intentions that threatened to scramble the state’s political balance.

“In the final analysis, the decision I made was, now is just not the right time,” the Eden Republican said in an interview. “I feel like we’ve initiated a number of things at the state level that I want to see further along before I move on to something else.”

The Senate president pro tem’s bypass avoids a showdown with House Speaker Thom Tillis, the highest-ranking Republican in the current four-way race. The two GOP leaders appeared to be jockeying for an edge in the recently finished legislative session, and the possibility that they would face off in a GOP primary threatened to color most state policy decisions.

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