NC lawmaker may challenge Sen. Tillis after district redrawn

Politics
Mark Walker

FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2019, file photo, Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C. speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Walker may challenge GOP Sen. Thom Tilllis for their party’s nomination next year, or he may run against either of two other House Republicans in primaries. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Walker may challenge GOP Sen. Thom Tillis for the party’s Senate nomination next year or might run against either of two GOP House colleagues in their primaries, a spokesman for Walker said Wednesday.

Walker was faced with the decision after the North Carolina legislature redrew the state’s congressional map, following a state court ruling that the previous district lines unfairly benefited the GOP.

Republicans currently hold 10 of the state’s 13 congressional seats. The new map is considerably friendlier for Democrats, and Walker’s central North Carolina district is one of two GOP-held seats that seem likely to be won by Democrats in next November’s elections.

Tillis is seeking a second six-year Senate term. He ran into criticism from conservatives after initially opposing President Donald Trump’s plan to unilaterally shift federal dollars to building his proposed wall along the Mexican border.

Tillis later reversed that stance and has since been endorsed by Trump. A potential conservative challenger for the GOP Senate nomination, Garland Tucker, ended his candidacy this week.

Tillis has reported raising nearly $8 million and has already run TV spots touting his support from Trump.

Walker spokesman Jack Minor said the congressman is also considering challenging fellow GOP Reps. Ted Budd or Patrick McHenry for the nominations in their districts.

He might also retire from politics or decide to wait until 2022, Minor said. That is when Republican Sen. Richard Burr has said he will not seek reelection and when the state is expected to gain an additional House seat because of next year’s census.

“All of these options are on the table,” Minor said.

Walker is a Baptist minister from Greensboro who was first elected to Congress in 2014.

North Carolina has a Dec. 20 filing deadline for congressional candidates, meaning Walker has just over two weeks to make his decision.

___

Associated Press writer Gary Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Community Calendar