Alexis Levinson of National Review Online ponders the re-election prospects for North Carolina’s senior senator.

Republicans are increasingly nervous about the Senate race in North Carolina, where Senator Richard Burr finds himself at sea in a year when some party insiders say a perfect storm may be gathering for Tar Heel State Democrats.

Burr faces Deborah Ross, a former state senator, in a race that few Republicans even considered competitive several months ago. Ross was not a top recruit, entering the race only after other Democratic hopefuls passed, and Burr — the well-liked chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee — seemed to have little to worry about. But with less than three months to go until election day, Burr has barely begun campaigning, and it’s increasingly clear that his reelection is threatened by two forces beyond his control: Donald Trump and Pat McCrory, the unpopular Republican Governor who’s also up for reelection this year.

“If it was a normal year, and it was just Richard and Deborah, you’d have to say Richard had a solid advantage,” says North Carolina GOP consultant Carter Wrenn. But 2016, of course, is not a normal year. …

… The state has not been easy terrain for either party in recent years, producing a series of neck-and-neck elections, and some Republicans scoff at the idea that anyone ever claimed Burr’s reelection would be a cakewalk. But many are surprised to find his campaign in such a tough spot.

Burr has never had to run for Senate in a year like this — both of his previous races came in good years for Republicans, one of them against a mediocre opponent — and some GOP observers are frustrated that he is approaching the race as if nothing were different. For instance, he is not yet running ads, which, while unsurprising to Republicans who have followed his past campaigns and know he dislikes to spend money much before Labor Day, is still causing some consternation.