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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 WalkerTrump's biggest political obstacle is Trump Burr on 'unusual' Trump endorsement in NC Senate race: 'I can't tell you what motivates him' The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters 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 BurrBill ending federal unemployment supplement passes North Carolina legislature Burr on 'unusual' Trump endorsement in NC Senate race: 'I can't tell you what motivates him' Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting 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 TillisBill ending federal unemployment supplement passes North Carolina legislature Senate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting 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 TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE during his time in the House. His upcoming announcement comes as reports have emerged that Lara TrumpLara TrumpPast criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC Lara Trump calls on Americans at border to 'arm up and get guns and be ready' 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 BuddTrump's biggest political obstacle is Trump Burr on 'unusual' Trump endorsement in NC Senate race: 'I can't tell you what motivates him' The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters MORE (R-N.C.) floated as other potential candidates for the race.