• 73°

Kirk Kovach: Walker, Tillis battle would be one for ages

By Kirk Kovach

On the heels of a court decision last week, North Carolina opened filing for congressional races. The decision ended what had been months of speculation about what districts the state would use for its 13-member congressional delegation.

For the past decade, North Carolina has been mired in litigation over the way the districts are drawn. No matter the party in power, those with the ability to draw maps inevitably lean them toward self-preservation. The previous map, drawn by Republicans, locked in an almost impenetrable majority: 10 Republican districts, three Democratic.

But the court decision last week changed that, approving a new plan which looks likely to yield eight Republicans and five Democrats.

That decision means two Republicans in previously safe seats now occupy districts sure to go for Democrats. Congressmen Mark Walker and George Holding, who announced he wasn’t running
for re-election on Friday, both need to find second acts. The latter will likely leave for the private sector, but Mark Walker is ambitious and highly favored by conservatives and President Donald Trump.

Walker has two clear options electorally, but neither is easy.

The first would be to run against another Republican incumbent, Rep. Ted Budd of Davie County, whose new district encompasses much of what was represented by Walker while still including parts of his old district, including Rowan County.

Walker has plenty of money, but a nasty fight with his neighboring congressman would be a lousy enterprise to regain a seat in the House. What’s more, the influential conservative group Club for Growth, which helped elect Budd in his first campaign in 2016, announced it would back Budd against a primary challenge, willing to spend $1 million or more.

But backing Budd isn’t a dig against Walker. The Club for Growth has backed Walker in the past and want him to challenge North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis in the primary. That just so happens to be Walker’s other option.

This week, a primary challenger to Thom Tillis left the race. That was Garland Tucker, a self-made millionaire who was seeking the nomination as a conservative ally to Trump. His bid fell flat, with the president and his allies piling up to support Tillis.

Walker would be a different candidate. Unlike Tucker, he never wavered in his support for candidate and then President Trump. It would be a battle, tooth and nail, with the fiery conservative Walker running against what many consider a flaky incumbent.

Tillis has a chameleon-like quality, seeming to change his political stripes based upon what suits his political goals at the time. That works well enough when you have the money and support to win a Republican primary, but it also makes it difficult when a proper conservative arises to challenge you.

Tea-party conservatives saw a slew of victories in the years after President Barack Obama won office, but Tillis isn’t a tea partier. He just plays one on TV.

Walker is the real deal and fits well with the current base of the Republican Party. If he challenges Tillis and gains serious support, the type of Republicans who vote in primaries are more aligned with Walker in style and substance.

It would be a fight for the ages.

Kirk Kovach is from Rowan County and writes for politicsnc.com.

Comments

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice

Elections

Republicans rally supporters at Saturday lunch

Elections

Budd holds wide lead over Huffman in fundraising, cash on hand

Crime

UPDATED: 1 shot, 5 in custody after shooting at haunted house that attracted 1,000 visitors

Nation/World

Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill Supreme Court seat

Coronavirus

Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19

Crime

Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods

Elections

NC elections board, Republicans at odds over absentee ballot rule changes

News

Voters struggling with witness rules in early voting

News

Trump expected to announce conservative Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Coronavirus

County reports COVID-19 percent positive rate of 8%

Local

Rowan County United Way sets $1.5 million goal at drive-in kickoff event

Crime

Blotter: Adult daughters accused of beating up mother

China Grove

China Grove firefighters injured after truck overturns

Business

Salisbury VA to reopen entry, exit gates

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for suspect in Burlington Coat Factory theft

Elections

Requests for absentee ballots top 9,000 in Rowan

Local

Spencer approves supplemental USDA loan for Park Plaza project