Trump hires North Carolina Republican he opposed

 March 14, 2024

President Trump has hired former North Carolina congressman Mark Walker, a surprising twist after Trump opposed Walker's campaigns for House and Senate.

Walker had the opportunity to request a runoff against Addison McDowell, the Trump-endorsed Republican frontrunner in the race for the 6th district, but Walker decided to end his campaign after Trump offered him a job.

Republican struggled against Trump

It's the latest career twist for Walker, who has spent some years in the political wilderness, with Trump standing in the way of his comeback efforts.

Walker unsuccessfully challenged Trump-endorsed Senator Ted Budd in North Carolina's 2022 Senate race, and then briefly entertained a run for governor before dropping that and launching a campaign to take back his old district.

Walker served in Congress from 2015 to 2021, stepping down after court-ordered redistricting changed the historically Republican 6th district into a Democratic one.

The district was placed back in GOP hands last year after the North Carolina Assembly drew new maps, with the blessing of a newly conservative state Supreme Court. Walker announced he was running for his old seat, currently held by Democrat Kathy Manning, in October, joining a crowded primary.

Trump gave his blessing to political novice Addison McDowell, who came out ahead of Walker by less than 2,000 votes in the March 5 primary.

Trump's U-Turn

As recently as Tuesday, Walker was calling for a debate against McDowell, and an intense runoff was expected.

Then, Trump announced that Walker - a former Baptist pastor - was joining his 2024 campaign as the Director of Outreach to evangelical and minority voters.

"He is very well suited for this important work. As a former Pastor, Mark is respected across the Evangelical Communities, and lived out his Faith in Congress," Trump wrote on Truth Social.

According to Walker, Trump called on Tuesday night to offer the job after "third-party discussions" began about a week ago.

He said Trump offered to endorse him in a different congressional race down the line, but Trump teased that Walker would “prefer to be directly working with him in the White House."

“We’re delighted to go and do something that I feel like is in our lane," Walker said, referring to him and his wife.

McDowell is all but certain to go on to Congress, with Manning deciding to forgo re-election in the redrawn 6th district.

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