GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis says he'll enter the U.S. Senate race to challenge Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan next year.
Tillis told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that he'll file campaign committee paperwork in Washington early next week. He becomes the first high-profile Republican to announce a bid. Only Greg Brannon of Cary had publicly joined the race.
Tillis is a four-term legislator from suburban Charlotte who has led the House since 2011. He told the AP he's seeking the GOP nomination because he's proved he can work with Democrats to get things done in Raleigh. He says the bipartisanship pushed by Hagan has failed.
Hagan is a former state senator from Greensboro who unseated Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in an upset in 2008.
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