Former N.C. congressman Mark Walker, will drop his bid for the U.S. Senate and will file for the newly drawn 7th Congressional District at the urging and with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, multiple sources confirm for Carolina Journal.
Carolina Journal reported in early November Walker was taking numerous calls urging him to shift gears and try instead to return to the U.S. House.
“I’m proud of my record of public service and accomplishment advancing conservative legislation in the U.S. House,” Walker told CJ at the time.
Walker served three terms in the House from 2015 to 2020, representing North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District, centered in the Triad. He won an open contest in 2014 to replace longtime Republican congressman Howard Coble.
During his time on Capitol Hill, Walker became the youngest chairman ever of the Republican Study Committee, a coalition of conservative members of the GOP caucus.
When court-ordered redistricting in 2019 transformed Walker’s district into one much friendlier to Democrats, the incumbent decided not to seek re-election in 2020.
Walker has previously represented much of the new 7th Congressional District, anchored in Guilford County but now including Alamance, Lee, Chatham, Davidson, Randolph, and part southwestern Wake County.
Walker also has represented portions of North Carolina’s new open 7th Congressional District. He lives within a handful of miles of the 7th District line. Members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation do not have to reside within a congressional district either to run for the seat or to represent it in Washington.
President Trump has urged Walker to drop his bid for U.S. Senate, in part to assist his handpicked candidate in the U.S. Senate race, Congressman Ted Budd. There is no public polling or data that supports the conclusion that Budd is served better with a two-man race against former Governor Pat McCrory, rather than a three-person race including Walker, although Trump and those connected to him believe so. Despite being asked to do so by President Trump, Walker is not expected to endorse Rep. Ted Budd in the U.S. Senate race.
State Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, who was considering a run for Congress would not speak of Walker’s plans but said in an interview with CJ that he would be filing for his current State House seat.
Former N.C. State football player Bo Hines has previously indicated on his Twitter account that he plans to run in the 7th Congressional District race in 2022, but CJ has learned he is now considering running in the Johnston-Harnett-Cumberland based 4th Congressional District.