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Even before Jim Neal outed himself, Kay Hagan was looking at getting back in the U.S. Senate race. Now she’s getting more encouragement – from home and from Washington.

Hagan, a state senator from Greensboro, had looked at running earlier. She pulled back because Senator Charles Schumer from New York, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was intent on recruiting Grier Martin. Martin eventually opted out.

Now Hagan is reconsidering. She’s being wooed by North Carolina Democrats – and by Schumer. The garrulous New Yorker’s first task was to eat crow with Hagan.

Again, beating Liddy Dole will not be easy. But 2008 could be a year of big changes. And the upside would be huge for a new Democratic Senator from North Carolina.

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