Carolina Republican in race to replace Richard Burr announces decision

The Republican has been sounding out colleagues about a potential run, but says he will stay in race now that Roy Moore won the GOP nomination

North Carolina’s Mark Walker, in the race to replace Republican senator Richard Burr in the House of Representatives, is staying in the race for now.

On Tuesday night Roy Moore won the Republican nomination for the Alabama Senate seat with 51% of the vote, while former state supreme court justice Roy Moore came in second with 32%.

National Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn wrote letters to Walker and Lt Governor Dan Forest offering their support.

Walker released a statement on Wednesday saying that he will stay in the race for now:

I told these colleagues earlier today that I am incredibly honored and humbled by their support and look forward to serving in Congress with them in the future. Now is the time for Senator Burr to unite and focus on maintaining a strong voice for North Carolina in the U.S. Senate. I have always been clear – I want Senator Burr to stay in the Senate. While I am excited that the good folks of Alabama have sent an extremely conservative candidate to the Senate, I look forward to meeting with my constituents later this week to determine my next step, which will likely include a race for re-election to the House.

The Republican has been exploring a potential Senate run since spring, at one point growing serious enough to add a tour bus to his campaign schedule, though he says the conversation is now moot.

McConnell has already committed to Kelly Ayotte, the New Hampshire Republican, to win back her seat, so it seems unlikely the race will come down to a Walker challenge to Ayotte’s position. (In fact, the thinking on the Hill is that Ayotte will win.)

Walker noted, though, that he did not vote for Moore.

“My mom took a field trip to Alabama to meet him on Tuesday, and she expressed some concerns about his selection. I’ve always been clear – I want Senator Burr to stay in the Senate,” he said.

His position is in contrast to the one held by his North Carolina GOP colleague, Thom Tillis, who also praised Moore but said he would not attempt to defeat him in the general election.

Back in Alabama, Moore refused to concede defeat and issued a statement Wednesday insisting that the former judge had beaten Moore.

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