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North Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid

North Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid
© Greg Nash

GOP Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerSeven Senate races to watch in 2022 Lara Trump leading Republicans in 2022 North Carolina Senate poll Rep. Mark Walker announces Senate bid in North Carolina MORE is expected to announce plans to run for Senate in North Carolina in early December, multiple sources confirmed to The Hill, with an official campaign rollout coming as soon as Dec. 1.

Walker, a member of House GOP leadership and former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, is set to launch a bid for the seat being vacated by Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOn The Money: Biden extends eviction moratorium, student loan forbearance | Stocks hit record highs on Biden's first day as president | Justice Dept. closes insider trading case against Burr The Hill's Morning Report - President Biden, Vice President Harris begin work today Justice Dept. closes insider trading case against Burr without charges MORE (R-N.C.) in January 2023. Burr announced in 2016, the year he last won reelection, that he would not run for another six-year term.

The GOP congressman had previously weighed a primary bid against Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader Democrats see Georgia as model for success across South MORE (R-N.C.) in 2019 before opting against the challenge. He decided not to seek another term in the House after court-prompted redistricting shifted his seat from safely Republican to a blue district.

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Walker, a former pastor who has previously seen strong support and encouragement to run from conservative groups such as Club for Growth, has served as an ally and staunch defender of President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE during his time in the House. His upcoming announcement comes as reports have emerged that Lara TrumpLara TrumpSeven Senate races to watch in 2022 Lara Trump leading Republicans in 2022 North Carolina Senate poll Rep. Mark Walker announces Senate bid in North Carolina MORE, the president's daughter-in-law, is mulling running for the Senate seat.

But according to one source close to Walker, while it could complicate his bid, her potential candidacy is not a factor in his decision to run, noting they “are not sure what Lara's timeline is or what the Trump name will mean when that time comes.”

“It doesn't change anything for Walker. If anything, it brings stability to the race because you assume where the Trump endorsement is going — it means you're not going to be surprised,” one source familiar with Walker’s plans told The Hill. 

“If anything, I think what this hurts most is the party loyalists in North Carolina, which was never clearly from redistricting Walker's base of support, because the folks in Raleigh now and some of the party institutions will have to give a second thought to whether or not they want to be seen as opposing a Trump in a primary. So for Walker's calculation, it doesn't change anything. We see a path where he could help and the plan that he has crafted will certainly work around curveballs in the campaign.”

One North Carolina Republican told The Hill that it could be a crowded field, with former Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and Rep. Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul BuddREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Here are the Republicans planning to challenge the Electoral College results Growing number of GOP lawmakers back Electoral College challenge MORE (R-N.C.) floated as other potential candidates for the race.