ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is telling Democratic Party activists of his impending plans to run for governor in three years.

Cooper spoke Saturday at the state Democratic Party's Western Gala in Asheville. Cooper told the Asheville Citizen-Times while it's early to make a formal announcement, he plans to run for governor.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan was scheduled as the featured dinner speaker at the Grove Park Inn. Hagan is running for re-election next year. Cooper is getting more attention after a series of public statements criticizing Republican policies and suggestions he's poised to run for governor. Cooper has declined similar gubernatorial bids in the past.

Democrats are trying to rebound after losing control of both executive and legislative branches.

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