The big question for months in the Republican US Senate primary is whether on Tuesday, May 17 there will be three major candidates on the ballot or two.

Former 6th District Congressman Mark Walker has announced that on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Greensboro Auto Auction at 3907 W. Wendover Ave., he is going to answer that question.

According to a recent Civitas poll, Walker, who was the first to announce he was running for the Senate, is mired in third place.  Former NC Gov. Pat McCrory is in first place with the support of 24 percent of likely voters, 13th District Congressman Ted Budd is in second place with the support of about 19 percent and Walker is struggling to stay relevant in third place with 7 percent.

In June 2021, former President Donald Trump made the surprise announcement that  he was supporting Budd in the Republican Senate primary.

In December 2021, Walker reportedly met with Trump and, according to press reports, Trump offered to support Walker if he dropped out of the Senate race and ran for Congress in the new 7th District.

According to Walker’s campaign, on Jan. 27 Walker is going to announce if he plans to take Trump up on that offer despite the fact that there are still a lot of unknowns about the congressional races.

The North Carolina Supreme Court is currently considering several lawsuits that challenge the congressional districts drawn by the Republican state legislature.  So at this point nobody knows whether those 14 congressional districts drawn by the state legislature will stand or if the NC Supreme Court will find that the districts are unconstitutionally drawn to favor Republican candidates and orders them to be redrawn.

The redistricting map that is currently being challenged divides Guilford County into three congressional districts that lean Republican.  Walker, who was first elected to Congress in 2014, won reelection in 2016 and 2018.  However, in 2020, the 6th District was redrawn as a heavily Democratic district and Walker chose not to run for reelection in a district he couldn’t win, and in December 2020 Walker announced he was running for the US Senate seat that is open because Sen. Richard Burr is not running for reelection.