POLITICS
09/16/2014 01:44 pm ET Updated Sep 16, 2014

GOP Sen. Richard Burr Plans To Run In 2016, Despite Retirement Rumors

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Despite some rumblings that he would retire, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, told the National Journal that he is planning to run for re-election in 2016.

North Carolina is often considered a swing state. Currently it has a Republican governor and a GOP-controlled state legislature. President Barack Obama won the state's electoral votes during the 2008 presidential election, but narrowly lost the state to Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

This year, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is locked in a competitive re-election race against Republican challenger Thom Tillis, the North Carolina House speaker.

The National Journal reports that Democrats would like to put Burr's seat into play in 2016.

North Carolina's Senate minority leader, Dan Blue, and the former Charlotte mayor-turned-U.S. transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, are mentioned as potential Democratic candidates, though Foxx has said he would not run against Burr.

For his part, Burr has come under fire for blocking a long-stalled judicial nominee he once recommended to Obama, as well as for quarreling with veterans' groups amid the Department of Veterans Affairs health care scandal.

But in signs that he doesn't always toe the most conservative line, the senator has called an attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act by threatening to shut down the federal government the "dumbest idea" he has ever heard. He also voted in 2010 to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy barring gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals from serving openly in the military.

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