Walker is first Republican candidate in race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Richard Burr
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
GREENSBORO, North Carolina (CFP) — With the dust still settling from November’s election, Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker has jumped into next campaign season by announcing he will run for North Carolina’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2022.
Walker opened his campaign December 1 with a video featuring endorsements from leaders around the state and Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and conservative talk show host. Walker said he was running “because serving others is my life, and I have the experience to fight and to win in Washington.”
“Washington has lost its mind. Job killing regulations, the Green New Deal, defund the police, end our military — seriously?” Walker said. “I’m proud of my record taking on the radicals as well as the establishment.”
Watch video of Walker’s announcement below
Walker, 51, from Greesboro, was a Southern Baptist pastor before his election to Congress. He has represented the 6th U.S. House District since 2015 but did not seek re-election in November after a court-ordered redraw of the state’s congressional districts made his district more Democratic.
Earlier this year, he considered a primary challenge against U.S. Senator Thom Tillis but eventually decided against it. Tillis was re-elected in November.
The seat Walker is seeking will be open in 2022 because incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr has announced his retirement.
Given the Tar Heel State’s partisan competitiveness, the race will likely be one of the most hotly contested and expensive battles of the 2022 cycle and a top Democratic target. However, a Democrat has not won a Senate election in North Carolina since 2008.
Among the names being mentioned as possible Republican candidates are Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, who grew up in North Carolina; Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, who lost in November’s governor’s race; and former Governor Pat McCrory.
Among Democrats, Governor Roy Cooper will likely face pressure from Senate Democratic leaders to make a run but has not indicated he is considering it. Erika Smith, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Senate nomination this year, is the party’s only announced candidate so far.
Watch video of Walker’s announcement