The 2022 race for the North Carolina US Senate seat picked up its third candidate on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

NC State Sen. Jeff Jackson from Charlotte announced he is going to run in the Democratic primary for the US Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who announced he would not run for a fourth term in 2022.

Former Republican 6th District Congressman Mark Walker announced he was running for the open Senate seat on Dec. 1, 2020, and so far is the only Republican who has officially declared.

Former Democratic State Sen. Erica Smith has announced she is going to give a statewide Senate race another try.  Smith was defeated in the Democratic primary in the 2020 Senate race by Cal Cunningham, who lost in the general election to the Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis.

Cunningham was ahead in the polls until reports that he was having an affair became big news.  Instead of being out among the public during the final weeks of the campaign, Cunningham seemed to spend his time hiding from the press, in order to avoid questions about his reported affair.

The Senate race between Tillis and Cunningham set a new all-time record for the most expensive Senate race in the country, at close to $300 million spent.

Although Walker is currently the only Republican who has declared, there are a lot of prominent Republicans who are reportedly looking at the race.  Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of former president Donald Trump, former NC Gov. Pat McCrory, former NC Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, former Congressman George Holding, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Speaker of the NC state House Tim Moore have all been mentioned as possible candidates.

It will be an uphill battle for Democrats, since Republicans have won the last four US Senate races in North Carolina.

Jackson currently serves in the North Carolina National Guard and served in the Army in Afghanistan.  He is an attorney who practices in Charlotte.  Because his resume appears to be so similar to that of Cunningham, the North Carolina GOP has already branded him “Cal Jr.”