Mark Walker staying in North Carolina Senate race for now
Former Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) will stay in North Carolina’s Senate race while he considers whether to run for a U.S. House seat instead, he told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Walker said he and his wife would release a video next week announcing that they will take the next few weeks to think about the former congressman’s political future and which office he wants to pursue next year.
Walker’s comments came after former President Donald Trump urged him to drop out of the Senate race and run instead for a Greensboro-area House district. Trump has endorsed Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) in the Republican Senate primary and is seeking to consolidate GOP support for his preferred candidate.
Walker told the AP that while he hasn’t ruled out a run for the House seat, he isn’t ready to commit to doing so.
“This has to be something in my heart, and I don’t know that it’s there yet,” Walker said. “I’m willing to consider it.”
In addition to Walker and Budd, former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is also seeking the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) in 2022. Despite Trump’s endorsement, Budd has yet to pull ahead of McCrory. By nudging Walker to exit the Senate contest, Trump had hoped to boost Budd in the primary.
North Carolina Democrats also have a competitive Senate primary on their hands with former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and state Sen. Jeff Jackson facing off for the nomination.
For now, Walker appears to have plenty of time to make up his mind. On Wednesday, the North Carolina Supreme Court ordered a two-month delay in the state’s primaries, postponing them from March 8 until May 17 to allow time to settle legal challenges to Republican-drawn congressional and state legislative maps.
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