Under the Dome

Is Shuler really a Senate contender?

Is former North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler really in the running to challenge U.S. Sen. Richard Burr next year?

The National Journal reported on Thursday that the former Democratic politician is “actively exploring” it, attributing that to two unnamed sources.

Shuler served three terms in the U.S. House, from 2007 to 2013. The former NFL quarterback represented the 11th Congressional District, in the western part of the state.

So far, no Democrats have stepped forward to announce their intentions to run against Burr, who has been in the Senate since 2005 and served in the U.S. House for a decade before that. Burr is well-situated with a cash-on-hand balance of about $3.8 million.

Democratic consultant Thomas Mills has a thoughtful analysis of Shuler’s prospects in a blog post Friday. Shuler would face a number of serious obstacles, including as a “blue dog Democrat” being more conservative than mainline Democratic primary voters.