RALEIGH – Even though the 2020 elections aren’t quite settled yet, the 2022 campaign season has officially begun. On Tuesday, retiring Republican Congressman Mark Walker (NC-6) announced his intentions to run for U.S. Senate in 2022 in the much talked about race to replace retiring incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr.
Walker made the announcement with a release of a four-minute campaign launch video:
The campaign launch comes on the heels of media buzz surrounding the race, with recent reports of interest from the president’s daughter-in-law and North Carolina native, Lara Trump, in running for the seat.
Former Republican Governor Pat McCrory has been in the conversation, reportedly rating the likelihood of a run at ‘about 70 percent,’ according to those close to him.
And, of course, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, who just came up short in a race for governor, has been mentioned as a possible candidate.
The early move from Walker does more than just give his individual campaign a long runway; it also serves to dissuade other contenders that maybe considering the run.
In order to run a successful statewide primary campaign, a candidate needs to lock in commitments from key influencers and ground game directors to do the work. When that campaign is for a coveted open seat in an important swing state with plenty of plausible suitors, that head start becomes even more important.
So, Walker is the first one in. This announcement effectively starts the clock, then, for the other potential candidates to, either, jump in the race soon or rule it out.
This year’s race (Tillis vs Cunningham) was the most expensive in US Senate history, and 2022 is shaping up to be another high profile senate race for the Old North State.