GREENSBORO – The race for North Carolina’s 2022 U.S. Senate seat is sure to be one of, if not the highest profile and most expensive races in the nation, owing to the precarious Senate makeup, North Carolina’s now perennial swing state status, and the vacuum effect that comes with a departing longtime incumbent in Sen. Richard Burr (R).
As such, the primary battles for both Republicans and Democrats are major. One candidate on the GOP side, however, maybe pulling away from the pack in terms of campaign infrastructure and competitive endorsements from local leaders across the state.
John Hammer at the RHINO Times posits that, from where he sits in Guilford County, the nature of former Congressman Mark Walker’s endorsements advantage may be decisive:
“[…] It’s going to be hard for anyone to compete with the list of endorsements former Sixth District Congressman Mark Walker has racked up in Guilford County for the 2022 US Senate Republican primary.
Walker is currently the only declared Republican candidate in the 2022 US Senate race, but the field is expected to get crowded before the primary, currently scheduled for March 2022. […]
More than merely approving an endorsement email soliciting campaign donations, those Triad leaders endorsing Walker are actually coming together for photo shoots and events.
That may seem small, but it is not insignificant in terms of the ‘All Politics is Local’ anecdote. From potential opponents’ perspective; If another candidate has locked up the support of all local leaders, building infrastructure and leveraging an incumbent’s network to drive breadth in outreach, it becomes increasingly difficult to make any dents in their lead.
It would take even bigger endorsements to have a chance at closing the gap, or enough existing name ID to hope to overcome it. Former Governor Pat McCrory has name ID, but it is Trump name — Lara Trump — that might be the only one able to erase the early lead Walker has built.
Still, her entry into the race is hardly assured.
As is, it appears that Walker is the man to beat when it comes to declared candidates in the Republican primary.
Below is a list of those ‘impressive’ endorsements noted by Hammer.
John Faircloth – state representative, District 62
Jon Hardister – state representative, District 59
Jay Wagner – High Point mayor
Ann Schneider – Oak Ridge mayor
BJ Barnes – Summerfield mayor and former Guilford County sheriff
John Flynn – Stokesdale mayor
Alan Perdue – Guilford County commissioner
Justin Conrad – Guilford County commissioner
Anita Sharpe –Guilford County Board of Education member
Pat Tillman – Guilford County Board of Education member
Linda Wellborn – Guilford County Board of Education member
Thearon Hooks Jr. – Stokesdale mayor pro tem
Victor Jones – High Point City councilmember
Britt Moore – High Point City councilmember
George McClellan – Oak Ridge town councilmember
Derek Foy – Stokesdale town councilmember
Jimmy Landreth – Stokesdale town councilmember
Jim Rigsbee – Stokesdale town councilmember
Lynne DeVaney – Summerfield town councilmember
John O’Day – Summerfield town councilmember
Tim Sessoms – Summerfield town councilmember and former mayor
Reece Walker – Summerfield town councilmember
Tina Forsberg – Guilford County Republican Party
Mike Adams – former Summerfield town councilmember
Dena Barnes – former Summerfield mayor and Federation of Women state chairman
Alan Branson – former Guilford County commissioner
Lee Haywood – former Sixth District GOP chair and candidate for Congress
Hank Henning – former Guilford County commissioner
Marcus Kindley – former GOP County chair
Zack Matheny – former Greensboro city councilmember
Jeff Phillips – former Guilford County commissioner
Carla Strickland – former Pleasant Garden mayor
Tony Wilkins – former Greensboro city councilmember