Don't look now, but the GOP primary for the 2014 Senate race may have just started.
A 501(c)4 called the North Carolina House Legislative Partners announced Tuesday morning that it's launched a television ad touting the agenda of House leaders.
The ad stars House Speaker Thom Tillis, who's widely rumored to be a likely candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.
"We all know that small businesses are the economic engine of North Carolina," Tillis says to the camera, standing in what appears to be an auto parts store. "We need the right priorities to create new jobs and move our economy forward."
"I'm Thom Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives," he says in a close-up shot. "Please join me in helping to set the right priorities for our great state."
According to the group's press release, the goal of the ad is to encourage "citizens to take an online survey reflecting their priorities for state issues."
The ad is online at www.ncpriorities.com, but the website is brand new and still a bit buggy.
NCHLP is chaired by former Rep. Danny McComas, R-New Hanover. “Our plan is to focus our message outside of Raleigh and to hopefully better educate the public on current and emerging issues,” he said in the release.
NCHLP spokesman Roger Knight says the ad is currently airing on cable in the Charlotte and Greensboro markets, but will expand to other markets soon.
Tillis' Senate counterpart, President Pro Tem Phil Berger, is also mulling a run for Hagan's Senate seat.