Retiring GOP Rep. Mark Walker launches North Carolina Senate run

A potentially competitive GOP primary looms for the open seat

North Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Walker launched his Senate campaign Tuesday.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
North Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Walker launched his Senate campaign Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted December 1, 2020 at 12:06pm

Retiring GOP Rep. Mark Walker announced Tuesday that he is running for Senate in North Carolina in 2022, kicking off a potentially competitive Republican primary to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.

"Washington has lost its mind. Job-killing regulations, the Green New Deal, defund the police and our military — seriously? I'm proud of my record taking on the radicals as well as the establishment," Walker said in a four-minute video launching his campaign featuring a range of supporters including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Burr announced back in 2016 that he would not seek a fourth term, and Walker indicated last December that he could run for the seat. Walker did not run for reelection to the House following a redistricting lawsuit that altered his House district, making it more Democratic. When he announced his retirement from the House, Walker hinted President Donald Trump would support his Senate run.

"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," Walker said at the time.

But Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is also considering a Senate run in her native North Carolina, the New York Times reported last month. Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump, did not rule out running for Senate when asked about a potential campaign on Fox News late last month.

"It would be an incredible thing. It's my home state, a state I love so much and. And look, I think we need some strong Republicans in Washington, DC. We had a great run with the Senate and the House this go-round, but you know, let's see what happens," she said.

Trump's chief of staff, former North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, has said he is not interested in running for the Senate seat.

This year the Tar Heel state hosted the most expensive Senate race of the cycle. GOP Sen. Thom Tillis defeated Democrat Cal Cunningham by about 2 percentage points as Trump also carried the state.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.