North Carolina GOP gubernatorial field expects former congressman Mark Walker to join

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker is expected to formally join next year’s race for North Carolina governor this weekend, entering a Republican primary already filled with the standing lieutenant governor and state treasurer.

Walker, a former pastor, scheduled a Saturday morning announcement at a Christian K-12 school in Kernersville to reveal his plans for the governor’s race. A spokesperson for a political consulting firm advising Walker said last month that the Guilford County Republican was preparing to enter the race.

Walker, who served six years in Congress through 2020, finished a distant third in the 2022 Republican U.S. Senate primary to eventual general election winner Ted Budd.

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and State Treasurer Dale Folwell announced their gubernatorial bids earlier in the spring. On the Democratic side, Attorney General Josh Stein announced his gubernatorial bid in January. Primary elections are scheduled for March.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is barred by the state constitution from seeking a third consecutive term in the nation’s ninth-largest state.

While Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in the Legislature and hold the most seats on the state Supreme Court, they have only held the governor’s job four years since 1993. The only election victory during that period happened in 2012 with Pat McCrory.

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