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Mark Walker will run for Congress, dropping NC Governor bid

Mark Walker on stage
By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ
CC BY-SA 2.0,
Mark Walker, speaking at a previous CPAC conference.

Former North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker said Wednesday that he’s dropping out of the governor’s race and will instead run for Congress, in a new GOP-friendly seat from Greensboro to Cabarrus County.

Walker’s decision to leave the governor’s race is a boost for Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is considered the leading Republican in the race. 

Walker said there was no clear path for him to win the Republican nomination.  

He said he needed a one-on-one matchup against Robinson to win and was hesitant to run an intensely negative campaign before the March primary.  

"The other factor there for us to really make the case it would have had to lead us to a place of mudslinging and I’ve just never run that kind of race." 

Four other Republicans are still challenging Robinson, including State Treasurer Dale Folwell. former state Sen. Andy Wells and retired health care executive Jesse Thomas. 

Salisbury trial attorney Bill Graham is the most recent Republican to enter the race and has pledged to spend millions of dollars of his own money to win. 

Walker said he’s not making an endorsement yet. 

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.