Rep. Mark Walker announces Senate bid in North Carolina

Rep. (R-N.C.) announced on Tuesday that he will make a run for the Senate in 2022, becoming the first major candidate to launch a campaign for the seat of retiring Sen. (R-N.C.). 

In a video posted online, Walker, the vice chair of the House Republican Caucus and a staunch ally of , touted his record of “taking on the radicals, as well as the establishment.”

“Washington has lost its mind. Job-killing regulations, Green New Deal, defund our police and our military. Seriously?” he said, adding later in the announcement that he is “running for the United States Senate because serving others is my life and I have the experience to fight and to win in Washington.”

The announcement was first reported on Tuesday by Fox News. The Hill previously reported that Walker was poised to launch a bid for Burr’s seat in early December.

Walker’s announcement on Tuesday marks the beginning of what is expected to be one of the most competitive and expensive Senate races of the 2022 midterm elections. 

He’s the only candidate to enter the race so far, but he’s expected to face a crowded Republican primary field. Other potential contenders for the GOP nomination include former North Carolina Gov. , Lt. Gov. and Trump’s daughter-in-law .

Democrats are also poised to contest Burr’s seat in 2022 after former state Sen. (D) fell short in his bid to unseat Sen. (R-N.C.) last month. That race emerged as the most expensive Senate contest in U.S. history, with more than $280 million spent between the campaigns and outside groups.

While Senate Republicans largely played defense in 2020, they are expected to face another tough cycle in two years, when the GOP will have to defend 20 seats to Democrats’ 13.

Walker, who decided not to seek reelection to the House after court-ordered redistricting shifted his seat toward Democrats, has flirted with a Senate run before. He weighed a primary challenge to Tillis in 2019, though he ultimately decided against it.

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