Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) is forgoing another term in the House after his North Carolina district was redrawn to favor Democrats, instead opting to hold out for a potential Senate bid in 2022, he announced on Monday.
Walker, who served as a Baptist minister before being elected to the lower chamber in 2014, previously considered a primary bid against Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) before ultimately deciding against the move. He held the position of chairman of the Republican Study Committee during the 115th Congress and rose to become a member of leadership during the 116th Congress, serving as the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Walker, a Trump ally, currently holds the position of co-chairman for the president’s North Carolina reelection efforts, which he says will be a top focus for him as the election approaches.
“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,” he continued in his statement. “For 2020, our focus will be on helping our candidates for President, Senate, and Governor be successful.”
Walker noted the president has voiced willingness to support him in a bid for higher office in the future after Trump ultimately decided to stick with supporting Tillis during the 2020 cycle.
“If I can quote this verbatim, I asked, ‘Mr. President, if we run for another position would you support us?’” Walker told McClatchy, which first reported the news of his decision. Trump responded by saying, “Anything,” according to Walker.
Walker told the publication he did not request Trump opt to back him in a primary over Tillis.
North Carolina’s redistricting provided Democrats with a strong advantage in two congressional districts currently held by Republicans: the 6th Congressional District, held by Walker, and the 2nd Congressional District, held by Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.), who also recently announced he would not seek reelection in the House next year.