GREENSBORO, N.C. — Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker will not run for office in 2020 but could move toward a Senate bid in 2022.
The announcement follows a gerrymandering lawsuit where judges blocked lines drawn in 2016 from being used in the election.
Walker released the following statement after announcing his plans for the 2020 election and after President Trump told Walker he would “enthusiastically back his bid” for North Carolina’s “Senate seat when Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) retires in 2022”:
“I believe the best way we can continue to serve the people of North Carolina is as a United States Senator. As I have always sought to have serving people supersede our ambition, I will dedicate my full heart and efforts to finishing my term in Congress. After we have secured more conservative policy and Republican electoral victories for North Carolina, we will take a look at the 2022 Senate race and we are thankful to have President Trump’s support. For 2020, our focus will be on helping our candidates for President, Senate, and Governor be successful.”
Walker serves as a co-chair for President Trump's North Carolina re-election efforts.
UNCG political science professor Dr. Hunter Bacot says the announcement doesn't surprise him.
"Because the redistricting," said Dr. Bacot, "It got re-drawn such that it’s not favorable or conducive to him."
In November, Walker responded to the redrawn maps by releasing a statement:
Mark Walker Responds to Redrawn Congressional Map
U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) released the following statement after the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) passed a new congressional map for the 2020 election:
“We took on Washington and Raleigh when I ran for Congress in 2014 and together we won. We did it with a new district in 2016. We will do it again in 2020. This was only possible by prioritizing people over politics – the exact opposite of what Raleigh is doing today. There is little assurance the districts passed today will hold up in court.
“Much like the abusive attempt to impeach President Trump, activist judges, career bureaucrats and politicians are locking arms to override the will of the voters. Both acts hurt North Carolinians and damage the faith we have in our elections. I will continue to serve our constituents with all of my heart and strength, wherever that path leads."
"What they did is they put most of the urban counties in their own congressional districts," said Bacot, "That made Guilford its own congressional district so it was basically foresight."
The congressional map passed by the NCGA will split the district Mark Walker represents in the 116th Congress (2019-2021) across four districts. Though it faces more legal hurdles, the NCGA passed map:
- Places 6 of the 8 counties Walker currently represents in the 13th congressional district.
- Places 3 counties Walker has previously represented in the 10th congressional district.
- It leaves only 22% of the current constituent population that Walker represents in the 6th congressional district.
- Places 53% of Walker's current constituent population in the 13th congressional district.
Dr. Bacot says Walker will likely win a Senate seat after Sen. Burr retires in 2022, but two years is an eternity in politics, so it's hard to say for sure.
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