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Former Gov. Pat McCrory considering run for Senate in 2022, setting up possibly primary battle against Rep. Mark Walker

Pat McCrory, then-governor of North Carolina, holds a news conference with fellow members of the Republican Governors Association at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce February 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Former Governor Pat McCrory said Thursday he’s considering a run for office for the first time since losing the governorship to Roy Cooper.

McCrory, a Republican, first took office in January of 2013. His time as governor closed after one term following his loss in 2016 to Cooper, a Democrat.

Now, he says he may run for United States Senate when Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) retires in 2022.

This decision sets up a potential primary battle between the former governor and U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-NC), who said he’s considering a run in the same race.

After learning McCrory would not be challenging Cooper for the governor’s office, Walker released the following statement:

“I hope Pat McCrory will join me in recognizing Dan Forest is a strong conservative leader and the best candidate to win back the Governor’s mansion in 2020. North Carolina wants fresh candidates who have consistently won their elections.”

Walker represents the 6th district, but, following redistricting, it is anticipated that his district is more likely to go to a Democrat.

The representative decided he would not seek reelection in 2020, and, instead, said he would consider running for Burr’s Senate seat in 2022.

Walker said in an earlier statement:

“I believe the best way we can continue to serve the people of North Carolina is as a United States Senator. As I have always sought to have serving people supersede our ambition, I will dedicate my full heart and efforts to finishing my term in Congress. After we have secured more conservative policy and Republican electoral victories for North Carolina, we will take a look at the 2022 Senate race and we are thankful to have President Trump’s support. For 2020, our focus will be on helping our candidates for President, Senate, and Governor be successful.”

President Donald Trump reportedly told Walker he would “enthusiastically back his bid” for the Senate seat when Burr retires.

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley released the following statement:

“Mark Walker has been a tireless servant for the people of the 6th Congressional District. He has stood as an unapologetic conservative to defend our Second Amendment rights, protect the sanctity of life, and advance an America First agenda. On behalf of North Carolina Republicans, I would like to thank Mark for his service to our state and the conservative cause.”

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