Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) revealed Monday that he won’t run for reelection in 2020, joining a growing list of Republicans who are stepping away from office.
Walker’s decision comes after North Carolina state lawmakers redrew the state’s congressional districts last month in response to a court ruling that the districts had violated the state Constitution by disadvantaging Democrats.
With the redistricting, Walker’s district became Democratic territory. Though he has until a Dec. 20 filing deadline to try his chances in a different district for the March 3 primary, he ultimately decided against it.
“The time was a huge factor against us,” said Walker, who’s in his third term in Congress.
“I got a lot of strong support to start moving toward the U.S. Senate in 2022,” he added, noting that he’s already gotten the support of President Donald Trump.
Nearly two dozen Republicans had previously announced they wouldn’t seek reelection in 2020, either to retire or to seek a different office. A tally by The Washington Post has found that, in addition to Walker, 23 House Republicans have made the same decision. That’s compared with nine Democrats.
Walker was among the few Republicans who spoke out against racist chants at Trump rallies aimed at four congresswomen of color. The chants of “Send her back,” encouraged by Trump, were like a “dagger that went through my heart,” Walker said at the time.