North Carolina’s Republican Rep. Mark Walker announced Monday night that he will not run for Senate in 2020, putting an end to speculation that he would primary against incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis.
Buzz around a potential Senate primary began earlier this month when Walker's district got drawn into a majority-Democratic leaning district, greatly dimming chances that Walker would amass enough votes to represent the 6th Congressional District again.
“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,” Walker said in a statement. “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 said.
Walker is one of the chairmen for Trump’s reelection effort in North Carolina. Trump won the state in 2016.
The state’s filing deadline for House and other major statewide races is Dec. 20.
Several North Carolina Republicans in Congress are facing potential uphill battles to serve their current districts after the 2020 elections after a state court determined that old congressional maps were the result of partisan gerrymandering. Two districts, Walker’s and the 2nd Congressional District, held by GOP Rep. George Holding, have now been rated "Safe Democratic" by Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
Earlier this month, Holding announced he would not seek to run against one of his Republican colleagues in the House, effectively ruling out holding a seat in the next Congress.
“The newly redrawn Congressional Districts were part of the reason I have decided not to seek reelection,” Holding said in a statement. “But, in addition, this is also a good time for me to step back and reflect on all that I have learned.”