A few days after Thanksgiving, Sen. John Edwards took off on what he called the “Thank You Tour” in his home state of North Carolina.

The 51-year-old former Democratic vice presidential hopeful, whose Senate term ends next month, is making it clear he isn’t about to bid farewell to public life. But staying in the political limelight could be the former trial lawyer’s toughest challenge yet, says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.