GREENSBORO – With a reshaped electoral district and no smooth alternate 2020 routes to take to reelection, Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) had decided to not run for reelection in North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District, or any other office in the impending election. Instead, in a video message to supporters and constituents, Walker plans to wait for the 2020 elections, census, and yet another redistricting to play out.
There were no easy options for Walker if he was intent upon remaining in Congress. His district was one of the most transformed by the latest Sue til Blue redistricting push, turning the tables 60/40 in Democrats favor. Even for an incumbent, that’s a hill too steep.
Running in 2020 to represent those outside his current district would mean challenging fellow sitting Republicans, such as the potential challenge to Ted Budd in the 13th District that Walker seemed to allude to when asked about his plans last week. It made the most logistical sense (a lot of his 6th Republican voting base was redrawn into the 13th District), but an incumbent on incumbent Republican primary wasn’t worth the disruptions.
The same could be said for a statewide run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Tillis may be the most unpopular, and thus vulnerable, senator in the nation, but a Trump endorsement and big money momentum make that challenge unpalatable as well. As uncustomary as it may seem for a budding congressman to do, Walker is going to sit it out for 2020. He’ll definitely be back (NC will get a 14th seat in congress after the census redraw), but the time away from the Swamp can only be refreshing.
So, with fresh legs, 2022 may offer some more competitive races. In addition to a changing Congressional map after the census, a statewide opportunity exists. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) is expected to not seek reelection in 2022.