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Mark Walker (North Carolina politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mark Walker
Walker Official Photo 2017.jpg
Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2021
LeaderKevin McCarthy
Preceded byDoug Collins
Succeeded byMike Johnson
Chair of the Republican Study Committee
In office
January 3, 2017 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byBill Flores
Succeeded byMike Johnson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 6th district
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byHoward Coble
Succeeded byKathy Manning
Personal details
Bradley Mark Walker

(1969-05-20) May 20, 1969 (age 52)
Dothan, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Kelly Sears
EducationPiedmont International University (BA)

Bradley Mark Walker (born May 20, 1969) is an American politician and pastor who served as the U.S. representative for North Carolina's 6th congressional district from 2015 to 2021. A member of the Republican Party, he was elected to head the Republican Study Committee in 2017 and vice chair of the House Republican Conference in 2019.[1]

On December 16, 2019, Walker announced that he would not run for reelection in 2020.[2] He is a candidate for retiring U.S. senator Richard Burr's seat in the 2022 elections.[3]

Early life and education

Walker was born on May 20, 1969, in Dothan, Alabama.[4] His father was an Independent Baptist minister, and was the chaplain of a prison in Alabama.[5]

Walker eventually attended Trinity Baptist College for a time before moving with his family to Houston, Texas. From there, Walker moved to the Piedmont Triad. He worked in business and finance for several years.[6] Walker eventually returned to college to pursue the ministry and attend Piedmont Baptist College, now Carolina University, graduating with a B.A. in biblical studies.

Early career

Walker was ordained in the Southern Baptist denomination. His career in ministry began at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. He has worked for and led churches in North Carolina and Florida. He has served as a worship pastor, executive pastor and lead pastor.

In 2008, Walker started with Lawndale Baptist Church in Greensboro as its pastor of arts and worship.[7] The church has a membership of several thousand congregants.[8]

U.S. House of Representatives



Republican Howard Coble had represented the 6th district since 1985 when he announced his retirement at age 83. Coble supported Phil Berger Jr. in the May primary election and Walker finished second, though in the runoff election, Walker unexpectedly won 57%–44%.[9] Most of Walker's election funding came from individual contributions, which he noted in his primary victory speech.[10] In the general election, Walker defeated Democratic attorney Laura Fjeld of Hillsborough. "I certainly do align with the Republican Party when it comes to traditional values," Walker said after the election, "but even so, limited government is my heart and my nature and I think that says a lot about North Carolina and maybe we are still more red than purple."[11] He said that in his term he hoped to address poverty, immigration, and education issues.[12]


Walker significantly outspent his opponent, Democrat Pete Glidewell, in the 2016 campaign; Walker's $818,000, about 40% from national political action committees (PACs), was nine times what Glidewell had fundraised.[13] All North Carolina incumbents retained their seats; in the 6th district, Walker received 59% of the vote.[14] Neither Walker nor Glidewell won their home county in the election.[13]

During the 2016 presidential election, Walker called some of Republican nominee Donald Trump's remarks "morally reprehensible"[15] and condemned Trump's lewd remarks about women as "vile."[16] Nevertheless, Walker still backed Trump over his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.[15] After the election, Walker expressed support for incoming president Trump on the issues of taxes and education, but said he could not stand behind Trump's statements about a registry tracking Muslim Americans.[17]


Walker faced no primary challenger in 2018. On April 20, Walker's campaign raised $650,000 during a luncheon attended by Vice President Mike Pence, the largest sum in U.S. House history, effectively doubling what Walker had previously raised.[18] In the general election, he defeated Democrat Ryan Watts of Burlington by about 13 percentage points.[19][20]


In June 2019, Walker decided against challenging Senator Thom Tillis in 2020, reportedly giving relief to Republican leaders who feared a bitter primary would hurt their prospects of retaining a U.S. Senate majority.[21][22][23]

In November 2019, at the urging of a three-judge panel of the state Superior Court hearing the case Harper v Lewis, the North Carolina General Assembly adopted on a party-line vote (with Republicans prevailing) a new U.S. congressional district map for the state[24] that substantially changed Walker's district. The old 6th covered Rockingham, Caswell, Person, Alamance, Randolph, Chatham and Lee counties and northern and eastern Guilford County. The new 6th was a much more compact district covering all of Guilford County and extending west into Forsyth County, including almost all of Winston-Salem.[25] The change dramatically shifted the 6th's partisan balance. Based on 2010-2016 election data, plaintiffs in Harper v. Lewis estimated that Hillary Clinton would have carried the redrawn 6th with 59 percent of the vote had it existed in 2016[26]–a mirror image of Donald Trump's 56 percent margin in the old 6th.[27] This led political observers to suggest that Walker's seat would likely be a Democratic pick-up in 2020. Walker's seat was one of two Republican-held seats that swung heavily to the Democrats as a result of the new map.[28] Indeed, on paper the new 6th was one of the most Democratic white-majority districts in the South.

In December 2019, Walker announced that he will not run for re-election in 2020.[2]

Tenure and political positions

Walker holds "deeply conservative" beliefs.[29] He is an avowed opponent of the Affordable Care Act, and has led the conservative Republican Study Committee's efforts to repeal the health care reform legislation.[30] He has called for "full repeal" of the legislation, and criticized 2015 Republican-sponsored legislation that would repeal only part of the act.[31]

In December 2016, Walker was one of only 33 Republican U.S. Representatives to vote "no" on a short-term stopgap funding measure that would appropriate millions of dollars in federal disaster relief spending in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Walker said that he opposed such stopgap funding bills.[32]

Walker has led efforts to improve the Republican Party's outreach to African Americans, and organized a February 2017 conference between the presidents and chancellors of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Republican congressional leaders.[33] He also worked with fellow Representative Alma Adams, a Democrat from North Carolina, to start an internship program for students from HBCUs.[34] He is supportive of criminal justice reform initiatives, and has called for a shift in Republican approach to this issue.[34]

In 2017, Walker became co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus.[35] During his 2018 service on a committee searching for the next House chaplain, Walker called for the committee to select a candidate "that has adult children," which would have effectively excluded Catholic priests and nuns from consideration. Fellow House member Rep. Gerry Connolly characterized Walker's suggestion as "anti-Catholic on its face."[36] During the controversy that followed, House Speaker Paul Ryan's spokesperson announced that "Mr. Walker will not serve in a formal capacity" on the screening committee.[37]

Walker has played for the Republicans in the annual Congressional Baseball Game, serving as pitcher in the 2016 game.[38]

Republican Study Committee

In 2016, Walker launched a campaign to become chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a faction of highly conservative Republicans. Walker defeated Andy Harris of Maryland in the November 2016 election, becoming the youngest RSC chairman in history.[39]

House Bill 2

Walker is a proponent of North Carolina's Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act ("HB2"), a controversial piece of legislation[40] which was read, amended, passed and signed in a matter of hours on March 23, 2016.[41] On March 28, 2016, as businesses and local governments began registering opposition to HB2, Walker tweeted, "I'm growing weary of the big business and corporate bullying over HB2."[42] At a prayer breakfast in April 2016, Walker said that the Democrats had emphasized opposition to HB2 as "part of a calculated strategy to retake control of the Senate, turn the state blue, and establish a base of support for the [2016] presidential election."[43]

Violence Against Women Act

In 2019, Walker voted against reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act,[44] which passed the House on a bipartisan vote (33 Republicans joining 230 Democrats voting 'aye').[45] He also voted against an amendment to the Act authorizing federal grants "for the purpose of reducing sexual violence on college campuses," which passed by a 258 to 173 margin.[44]

Health care

Walker's 2014 campaign web site stated "Obamacare should be repealed, and Mark will make doing so one of his top legislative priorities."[46] In 2019, Walker voted against a House resolution that called on the U.S. Dept. of Justice to stop supporting plaintiffs' efforts in Texas v United States seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act.[44]


Walker has made controversial statements that have brought him national attention; for example, in 2017 he described women colleagues publicly as "eye candy".[47][48] On May 15, 2017, Walker posted a tweet in which he criticized the construction of specially made ramps allowing ducks to get into and out of the US Capitol Reflecting Pool. In it, he called the move "government waste."[49] The tweet was widely criticized on social media.[50][51]

During his 2014 campaign, at a Tea Party forum in Rockingham County, North Carolina, Walker was asked if military force was appropriate along the U.S.-Mexican border. He stated that the National Guard might be necessary to secure the border.[52] He added, "...if you have foreigners who are sneaking in with drug cartels, to me that is a national threat, and if we got to go laser or blitz somebody [...] I don't have a problem with that either." The moderator then asked if he had any qualms about starting a war with Mexico. Walker responded, "Well, we did it before, if we need to do it again, I don't have a qualm about it."[53][54] Later, Walker met with the editors of Greensboro's News & Record to tell them, "Being someone who is not a career politician, I've learned there are different environments that are a little more heated in context. And when you walk into those by proxy, you have to be very concerned as well as being very upfront about what your positions are because you can be guided very easily."[55]

Security breach of House of Representatives SCIF

In October 2019, violating congressional rules, Walker was part of a group of Republican congresspersons who stormed into a closed committee inquiry which had been conducting an investigation related to alleged violations by President Trump. The effect was to delay the proceedings by five hours. Walker brought his cell phone into the room which was a security violation.[56]

Texas v. Pennsylvania

In December 2020, Walker was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who signed an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden prevailed[57] over incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of the election held by another state.[58][59][60]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of "election subversion." Additionally, Pelosi reprimanded Walker and the other House members who supported the lawsuit: "The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions."[61][62]

Hayes indictment

Following the April 2019 indictment of former Rep. Robin Hayes for allegedly attempting to bribe state insurance officials, Politico identified Walker as the unnamed "Public Official A" in the indictment who called state insurance officials after a political committee under his control received a $150,000 donation. Walker was not indicted or named in the indictment. He denied any wrongdoing and said he has been fully cooperating with the probe.[63][64][65]

Committee assignments

2022 U.S. Senate campaign

On December 1, 2020, Walker announced his candidacy for the open U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by retiring Republican senator Richard Burr.[3]

Personal life

Walker is married to Kelly Sears, a nurse practitioner.[66] They have three children and live in Greensboro.[4]


  1. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Murphy, Brian (December 16, 2019). "His House district was made a Democratic one. Here's what's next for Mark Walker". The Herald-Sun. Durham, North Carolina. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Steinhauser, Paul (December 1, 2020). "Republican Mark Walker announces candidacy in 2022 North Carolina Senate race". Fox News. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C.: Member of the House (3rd term)". Roll Call. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  5. ^ Wegmann, Philip (April 20, 2016). "A Preacher Turned Lawmaker and His New Campaign to Win the Old War on Poverty". The Daily Signal. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  6. ^ "Mark Walker's Biography". Vote Smart.
  7. ^ "Biography and Resume". City of Greensboro, North Carolina. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014.
  8. ^ Cahn, Emily (July 20, 2014). "Megachurches Prove Mega-Influential in GOP Primaries". Roll Call.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Sean (July 15, 2014). "Baptist minister Mark Walker wins Republican runoff in North Carolina's 6th District". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  10. ^ Jarvis, Craig (July 16, 2014). "How did Mark Walker blindside Phil Berger Jr.?". The News & Observer. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  11. ^ Brown, Keri (November 5, 2014). "Walker Wins 6th Congressional District Seat". WFDD. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  12. ^ Brown, Keri (November 18, 2014). "Walker: Getting Things Done In Congress Starts With Local Community". WFDD. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Newsom, John (November 8, 2016). "Rep. Mark Walker wins second term in 6th District". News & Record. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  14. ^ Douglas, Anna (November 8, 2016). "All North Carolina incumbents keep seats in Congress". The News & Observer. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Douglas, Anna (June 9, 2016). "NC Republicans offer varying levels of support for Trump". The News & Observer. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  16. ^ Jarvis, Craig (October 8, 2016). "McCrory, Burr, others join condemnation of Trump". The News & Observer. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  17. ^ Douglas, Anna (December 27, 2016). "Meet the knuckleball pitcher in Congress who has redefined conservatives' strike zone". The News & Observer. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  18. ^ Specht, Paul A. (April 27, 2018). "An NC Republican says he just made campaign history". The News & Observer. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  19. ^ "North Carolina Primary Election Results: Sixth House District". The New York Times. May 8, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
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  21. ^ Arkin, James; Zanona, Melanie (June 13, 2019). "Republicans dodge nasty Senate primary in North Carolina". Politico. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  22. ^ Pathé, Simone (June 13, 2019). "Rep. Mark Walker won't challenge him, but Sen. Thom Tillis still faces a primary". Roll Call. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  23. ^ "Rep. Walker won't challenge Sen. Tillis in NC GOP primary". WTOP-FM. Associated Press. June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  24. ^ Murphy, Brian (November 15, 2019). "North Carolina lawmakers OK new 2020 congressional maps. Now it's up to the courts". Raleigh News & Observer. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  25. ^ New congressional map
  26. ^
  27. ^ "PVI Map and District List". The Cook Political Report. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  28. ^ Gardner, Amy (November 15, 2019). "Democrats would likely gain two seats under new congressional map approved by North Carolina legislature". Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  29. ^ Stolberg, Sherly Gay (January 6, 2015). "As Power in Congress Shifts to G.O.P., Lives of Freshmen in Transition". The New York Times.
  30. ^ Lee, MJ; Walsh, Deirdre (January 4, 2017). "Conservative House Republicans unveil repeal and replace Obamacare bill". CNN.
  31. ^ Bolton, Alexander (November 16, 2015). "ObamaCare repeal teeters in Senate". The Hill.
  32. ^ Douglas, Anna (December 9, 2016). "Why a congressman voted against a bill with money for disaster relief in his district". News & Observer.
  33. ^ Douglas, William (January 30, 2017). "Will GOP's latest effort to reach out to black community last?". News & Observer.
  34. ^ a b McPherson, Lindsey (January 23, 2017). "Walker Wants GOP to Lead on Criminal Justice, Immigration: Head of Republican Study Committee says new approach warranted". Roll Call.
  35. ^ "Walker co-chairs prayer caucus". Asheboro Courier-Tribune. January 11, 2017.
  36. ^ Weaver, Dustin (April 26, 2018). "Conservative leader: Next House chaplain should have a family". The Hill. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  37. ^ Garcia, Eric (April 30, 2018). "Walker Removes Himself From Chaplain Search". Roll Call. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  38. ^ Gangitano, Alex; Bowman, Bridget (June 23, 2016). "Republicans Turn Back Democrats in Thriller, 8-7". Roll Call.
  39. ^
  40. ^ Gordon, Michael; Price, Mark S.; Peralta, Katie (March 26, 2015). "Understanding HB2: North Carolina's newest law solidifies state's role in defining discrimination". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  41. ^ North Carolina General Assembly. "House Bill 2 / S.L. 2016-3 Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act. 2016 Second Extra Session". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  42. ^ @RepMarkWalker (March 28, 2016). "I'm growing weary of the big business and corporate bullying over HB2" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  43. ^ Wegmann, Philip (April 12, 2016). "Rep. Mark Walker: Liberals Exploiting Bathroom Bill Controversy for Political Gain". The Daily Signal. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  44. ^ a b c "How the local N.C. delegation to Congress voted recently". News & Record. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  45. ^ "H.R. 1585: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 -- House Vote #156 -- Apr 4, 2019". Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  46. ^ "Issues". Walker 4 NC. Archived from the original on October 10, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  47. ^ Kenny, Caroline (September 26, 2017). "RSC chair calls female colleagues 'eye candy' during remarks". CNN. Retrieved September 27, 2017. The accomplished men and women of the RSC. And women. If it wasn't sexist, I would say the RSC eye candy, but we'll leave that out of the record
  48. ^ Murphy, Brian; Clark, Lesley (September 26, 2017). "NC lawmaker calls Republican women 'eye candy' during press event". The Herald-Sun. Durham, North Carolina. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  49. ^ @RepMarkWalker (May 15, 2017). "If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it must be government waste" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  50. ^ Rozsa, Matthew (May 17, 2017). "So the GOP is anti-duckling now?". Salon. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  51. ^ Greenwood, Max (May 16, 2017). "GOP rep decries Capitol duck ramp as 'government waste'". The Hill. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  52. ^ Ladd, Susan (September 19, 2014). "War With Mexico? Of Course Not". News & Record. Greensboro, North Carolina. Retrieved September 19, 2014. if we've got to go laser or blitz somebody with a couple of fighter jets for a little while to make our point, I don't have a problem with that either. [...] Well, we did it before. If we need to do it again, I don't have a qualm about it.
  53. ^ Jarvis, Craig (September 19, 2014). "Thom Tillis ventures into potentially risky territory". Under the Dome. The News & Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. Retrieved October 2, 2019. If we've got to go laser or blitz somebody with a couple of fighter jets for a little while to make our point, I don't have a problem with that. [...] Well, we did it before, if we need to do it again, I don't have a qualm about it.
  54. ^ Binker, Mark (September 19, 2014). "Walker doesn't 'have a qualm' about war with Mexico". WRAL-TV. Retrieved April 10, 2016. But I would tell you, if you have foreigners who are sneaking in with drug cartels, to me that is a national threat, and if we got to go laser or blitz somebody with a couple of fighter jets for a little while to make our point, I don't have a problem with that either [...] Well, we did it before. If we need to do it again, I don't have a qualm about it
  55. ^ Killian, Joe (September 27, 2014). "Will the real Mark Walker step up?". News & Record. Greensboro, North Carolina. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  56. ^ Wagner, John; Sonmez, Felicia; Itkowitz, Colby (October 23, 2019). "Cooper testifies after five-hour delay caused by House Republicans barging into secure room". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 24, 2019. ...still 15 GOP House members in the secure room, including House Rep. Mark Walker...
  57. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
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  66. ^ Chaffin, Kathy (August 28, 2015). "Congressman Walker tours Elkin". The Elkin Tribune.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Howard Coble
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Kathy Manning
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Flores
Chair of the Republican Study Committee
Succeeded by
Mike Johnson
Preceded by
Doug Collins
Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference
This page was last edited on 9 October 2021, at 08:27
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