Tillis dodges primary challenge in NC

Tillis dodges primary challenge in NC
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerGOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries This week: Lawmakers return as Amash fallout looms The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to rebound after tough week MORE (R-N.C.) will not challenge Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist Top North Carolina newspapers editorial board to GOP: 'Are you OK with a racist president?' Republicans make U-turn on health care MORE (R-N.C.) in the 2020 Republican primary, sparing the state GOP a potentially bruising fight ahead of an election in which President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE will also be on the ballot.

“After prayerful reflection and consideration, I am confident that my continued service in the House will best help our efforts to reclaim the majority from Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Trump: I don't have a racist bone in my body Ocasio-Cortez responds to fresh criticism from Trump MORE and advance our shared conservative goals,” Walker told Politico.

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Walker had reportedly seriously considered the primary challenge but wanted Trump’s approval first, meeting with him at the White House last month.

Republican leaders, however, had warned the president a protracted primary fight could affect the general election, in which the Tar Heel State will be key to both Trump’s electoral map and continued GOP control of the Senate, Politico noted.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA —Biden unveils health care plan | Proposal pitches subsidies, public option | Biden vows if you like your health insurance, 'you can keep it' | Sanders protests planned Philadelphia hospital closure MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungGOP chairman introduces bill to force 'comprehensive review' of US-Saudi relationship Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Congress needs to repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force MORE (R-Ind.) have spoken with Trump to warn him about a primary battle and the importance of North Carolina in the 2020 cycle, according to Politico, which cites two sources familiar with the conversations.

A Walker spokesman told the news outlet that the congressman met with Tillis Wednesday afternoon to tell him he would not mount a challenge, adding that Walker is still seeking a second meeting with Trump to discuss his decision.

Walker said earlier this week that polling from the conservative Club for Growth indicated Tillis was vulnerable, according to Politico.

“Some of the numbers we have seen, the frustration levels from North Carolinians, just to be frank, it is concerning,” he said ahead of his decision.

Walker, however, would come with baggage of his own as a candidate, with Politico reporting in April that a political committee he controlled is named in a criminal indictment of former Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.).

Walker is not named in the indictment and has denied any wrongdoing, according to the news outlet.

Tillis, meanwhile, has been vocal in his support of Trump ahead of his reelection bid and pushed back against fellow North Carolina Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrTop North Carolina newspapers editorial board to GOP: 'Are you OK with a racist president?' Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns GOP senators divided over approach to election security MORE’s (R) subpoena in April of Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Trump set to host controversial social media summit Trump associate Felix Sater grilled by House Intel MORE Burr is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.