With hundreds of supporters gathered near him, former Greensboro-area Congressman Mark Walker announced Thursday he would continue to focus on the U.S. Senate race instead of switching to run for a U.S. House seat.

“The last 45 days have been a whirlwind,” Walker said. “When we stepped away from Congress, it was in our hearts to run across North Carolina to be able to take what we’ve been able to do in central North Carolina, and take it across the state for the U.S. Senate.”

Walker has been running for the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s open U.S. Senate race. He has trailed former Gov. Pat McCrory and current 13th District U.S. Rep. Ted Budd in polling and fundraising.

Carolina Journal has reported that Walker has been urged to drop his Senate bid and run instead for the U.S. House, where he served from 2015 to 2020. Among those interested in Walker making the switch to a House campaign is former President Donald Trump. He’s endorsed Budd in the Senate Republican primary.

If he switched races, Walker would have run in a new 7th Congressional District, which includes part of Guilford County, but also the GOP stronghold of Randolph County. The new 7th as drawn and enacted by the Republican-led General Assembly would contain about 70% of the population Walker used to represent before courts forced new districts to be drawn for the 2020 election. Walker decided to sit out the 2020 race, instead of running in a newly drawn deep-blue Democratic district.

When the Democrat-controlled state Supreme Court blocked candidate filing and placed the new congressional map in limbo, Walker again faced having a red-leaning congressional district snatched from him. Political insiders expect that if the Supreme Court orders changes to the new congressional map, the 7th, one of three districts in Guilford County, is likely to be changed into a Democratic-leaning district.

The Senate GOP primary winner is expected to take on Democrat Cheri Beasley, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, in November.

John Snyder, a Mecklenburg county supporter of Walker tells CJ, “We have three great top candidates, but Mark has the broadest appeal that represents Republican ideals. He understands that leading requires consensus-building, not enemy-making.”