Tillis dodges primary challenge in NC

Tillis dodges primary challenge in NC
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage North Carolina congressman says he won't seek reelection after redistricting NC rep explores Tillis primary challenge MORE (R-N.C.) will not challenge Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGroup of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' The real US patent 'crisis' Graham: FBI investigation in 2016 turned into a 'criminal conspiracy' 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 TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech 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 PelosiTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles California GOP candidate arrested on stalking charges 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 McConnellRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial On The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday McConnell: Senate impeachment trial will begin in January MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungGOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements Statesmen seek bipartisan solutions to big challenges The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump says he is fighting testimony to protect presidency 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 BurrGOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties North Carolina congressman says he won't seek reelection after redistricting Senate passes bipartisan bill to permanently fund historically black colleges MORE’s (R) subpoena in April of Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpWhite House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Top Democrats knock Trump on World AIDS Day MORE Burr is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.