With new congressional districts having just been approved by the North Carolina General Assembly, former US representative Mark Walker will drop his bid to become the GOP nominee for governor and instead seek to reclaim his 6th District Congressional seat.

“With the new congressional district maps, Kelly and I are overwhelmed with the all support reaching out to us about taking the fight back to Congress,” Walker said to Carolina Journal.

“As we’ve been reminded in recent weeks, we need proven leaders and strong conservatives in Congress,” Walker added. “The grind in DC can be mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting fighting back against a radical movement designed to steal the hearts and minds of our families. It’s crucial we elect people who live out conservative principles by being grounded in a genuine faith in our Creator, Almighty God. It is because of this wide range of support that we prayerfully step away from the gubernatorial race and saddle up for this crucial moment in America.”

Walker, a Greensboro area Baptist pastor, served as the US representative for North Carolina’s 6th congressional district from 2015 to 2021.

The new 6th Congressional District includes all of Rowan, Davidson and Davie counties and parts of Cabarrus, Forsyth, and Guilford counties — Guilford being Walker’s home county.

Walker previously represented much of the new district. The John Locke Foundation rates the new 6th Congressional District as R+8, making this a likely GOP district.

In 2015, Walker became the first member in an inaugural term to be elected chair of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) — the largest caucus in Congress, with 160 members. The chairmanship was a position previously held by Vice President Pence and Congressman Jim Jordan.

In 2018, Walker was elected as vice chair of the entire conference, becoming the highest-rated conservative to serve in the top four leadership positions in Congress. Walker is also the last member of Congress to secure a floor vote on a balanced budget amendment and led the House on HBCU initiatives winning the United Negro College Fund President’s list award.

Walker was redistricted out of his seat and stepped away from Congress in 2021, due to a now reversed court case dealing with partisan redistricting.

“Though the new maps were made public only a week ago, I’m proud to share that we’ve already received over $500,000 of pledges from supporters to make this move back to Congress,” Walker told CJ. “Three years ago, the 6th district was ripped away and handed over to a liberal Democrat.”

Walker said he now plans to “take it back,” and “that’s why I am honored to announce that I’m running to represent the people of North Carolina’s 6th district.”

Walker finalized his decision as the NC congressional maps were enacted into law and at nearly the same time as Walker’s close friend, Congressman Mike Johnson, former chair of the Republican Study Committee, was selected to become the next speaker of the US House.

“Rep. Johnson did a great job leading the RSC and is ready for this moment,” said Walker.

Walker ran for US Senate in 2022 but was defeated by fellow congressman, now senator, Ted Budd in the GOP primary.

Walker advocated for the election of two new GOP North Carolina Supreme Court candidates and four North Carolina Court of Appeals candidates through his independent expenditure organization, Win the Courts, during this past general election. In May of this year, Walker announced a bid for the GOP nomination for governor, which he will now be setting aside as he runs for the new 6th Congressional District seat.