KERNERSVILLE, N.C. -- Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker formally join next year's race for North Carolina governor, entering a Republican primary already filled with the standing lieutenant governor and state treasurer.
Walker announced Saturday morning in Kernersville that he's joining the governor's race. Walker, who's also a pastor, made the announcement at Triad Baptist Christian Academy.
"And after much thought and much prayer, I am before you today to announce that I am running for the Republican nomination to be the next governor of the great state of North Carolina!"
During his announcement, which was streamed live on Facebook, Walker touted his record as a member of Congress, his success in the private sector and as a pastor, and his ideas for the future of the state.
"In North Carolina, we must return conservative leadership to the governor's office, but we also need a leader who has a history of building bridges not just burning them," Walker said.
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.
Attorney General Josh Stein has announced his plans to run for governor.
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.