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Mark Walker

(WGHP) — Perhaps Mark Walker’s political future is about to become clearer.

Walker, the former congressman from Greensboro who has been campaigning for the U.S. Senate, has scheduled a campaign announcement for Thursday evening in Greensboro.

An email from his campaign said Walker wanted to “announce his 2022 election plans with supporters present.” The event will be at 6 p.m. at the Greensboro Auto Auction at 3907 West Wendover Boulevard.

Walker was one of the first Republicans to enter the race for the seat Republican Richard Burr is vacating in the Senate, but that race also features former Gov. Pat McCrory and Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) along with a handful of others seeking the GOP nomination.

McCrory largely has been seen as the front-runner in the race, and Budd won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, prompting Walker to say he was considering a request from Trump and others to leave the race and seek a return to Congress.

The logical spot for him to run for Congress is considered to be the new 7th Congressional District as drawn on the map adopted by the General Assembly on Nov. 5. That map, which currently is being challenged in court, includes eastern Guilford County along with Alamance County and part of Davidson County in a wide swath that reaches into Wake County in a district that has no incumbent and figures to lean Republican.

Walker’s Greensboro home does not fall within the district’s lines, but residence is not required in Congressional races.

Another ambitious young Republican, Bo Hines of Winston-Salem, also has expressed interest in the 7th District. State Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford County), who lives in the district, considered a bid but then declined to enter the race.

The other two districts that are to cover Guilford County, the 10th and the 11th, both have Republican incumbents (Virginia Foxx  and Richard Hudson) as well as Democrat Kathy Manning. Foxx and Hudson both are running, but Manning’s status is uncertain.

Walker said in December, after a meeting with Trump and others at Trump’s residence at Mar Lago in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that he still was considering his options.

The announcement for Thursday’s event said Walker “recently was offered the endorsement of President Trump.” But it also cited senatorial endorsements from Mick Mulvaney, one of Trump’s former chiefs of staff, pundit Mike Huckabee, former NFL coach Tony Dungy and others.

Politico Playbook reported last week that Trump was getting gun shy about some of his endorsements because they weren’t gaining traction: “Trump is also starting to have regrets about his June endorsement of Rep. TED BUDD (R-N.C.) for Senate. Trump’s former chief of staff MARK MEADOWS pressed for Budd, but he’s now struggling in the polls.”

Trump later on Monday evening issued a statement to reinforce his endorsement of Budd, saying Budd has his “complete and total endorsement.”

“Ted Budd, who I endorsed many months ago for U.S. Senate, is now leading the pack in North Carolina,” the release from Trump said. “He is the true America First fighter who stands tall for the Second Amendment, fights for our great Military and Law Enforcement and has tremendous courage fighting against the Woke Mob who wants to destroy America. I am proud of him, and he is going to win big.”

Walker also may have been waiting to see if the congressional districts withstood the court challenges. A 3-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court earlier this month upheld the maps, which were contested for being a political gerrymander designed to broaden and strengthen the GOP’s hold on Congress and the General Assembly.

The court did find there was a gerrymander but said there was no legal path to overturning the maps.

That ruling has been appealed to the NC Supreme Court, which will hold a hearing for oral arguments on Feb. 2. Because of that, the General Assembly last week postponed the primary election to June 7.