Walker visit with President Trump set to shake up Congressional fields

In this Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, photo, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Walker poses for a photo in Mount Airy, N.C. (AP Photo/Bryan Anderson)

RALEIGH — Reports indicate that former Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker will transition from a bid for U.S. Senate and opt for the redrawn 7th Congressional district in the 2022 primaries.

On Saturday evening, Walker was reportedly at Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort owned by former President Donald Trump, to discuss the move. Walker tweeted a photo of himself at the resort.

“Glad to be invited to Mar-a-Lago this evening to discuss the path forward getting ready to meet with President Trump,” Walker said.

Politico said first-term U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn was also in attendance at the meeting along with Club for Growth president David McIntosh. Reportedly, Cawthorn presented a document outlining his preferred candidates for 11 of the state’s 14 districts.

Images of the document show former NC State football player Bo Hines, who has become a friend of Cawthorn, running in the new 4th Congressional district. Hines would face stiff competition in the district from many candidates who are much more well-known such as state Rep. John Szoka, former Fayetteville mayor Nat Robertson, and Johnston County businessman DeVan Barbour, among others. Former U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers is also expected to announce a bid, sources tell NSJ.

Walker would become the most well-known candidate in the 7th district, which also includes a variety of candidates who have stated their intent to run for the seat but have not run for office previously.

Effort to reach Walker by NSJ have been unsuccessful as of Monday afternoon.

Filing was expected to begin on Monday, but a surprise decision made by a three-judge panel at the N.C. Court of Appeals has put filing on hold until at least Dec. 9.