Rey, 38, posted on Facebook early Monday morning, confirming the decision that's been speculated for more than a month as supporters created the social media hashtag #Rey2016, and Rey announced serious exploration. This 'Chris Rey for Senate' Facebook page was also launched last month. Read more here.
"Our current Senator is the past, and I think that individuals are hungry for people who are ready to do something," Rey said during an interview, alongside his wife Adwoa.
Last month, Public Policy Polling called Rey a top potential Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr. It surveyed 957 voters, asking which of the potential challengers would get their vote in a 2016 race against the two-term Burr.
Rey polled 37 percent to Burr's 44 percent, topping other potential Democratic candidates Deborah Ross, Duane Hall (polling 43/36 and 44/36, respectively), and Heath Shuler, who polled at 42/35.
The same poll noted Rey and Hall with the least name recognition.
Rey, a husband and father, became Spring Lake's youngest mayor in 2011. He is currently serving a second term in the Cumberland County town of roughly 12,000 residents. The Army veteran also serves as a Major in the Virginia National Guard, and he spent seven years as an active-duty Army soldier.
While the plight of the uninsured, working-class, and young families played a part in his decision to run, Rey said it was the military community's challenges that sealed the deal.
"Sequestration impacted our community," Rey said. "It impacted our readiness at Fort Bragg, and so when you look at the inability of Congress to make sound decisions, it makes me realize that you don't have individuals who are up there who's really working for the betterment of the people."
Adwoa Rey says her husband is constantly telling her about constituents he meets each day, and his humility will set him apart.
"We take those issues on personally and that heart is I think is what's going to carry him all the way," said Adwoa Rey.
Rey said he consulted his wife first and foremost before seriously exploring the run.
"I had to get permission," he laughed. "But she's given me such a confidence that we do this."
"The first thing I asked him is 'Did you pray on this?'" said Adwoa Rey.
Once the couple decided to move forward, they vowed to stay rooted in Spring Lake, even with sights set on Washington.
Their community has carried them this far.
"And God," said Adwoa, looking at her husband.
"And God has our back," Rey nodded. "He does."
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