The Republican primary for the North Carolina US Senate seat currently held by Sen. Richard Burr got a new official candidate with the announcement by former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory that he’s in the race.

Burr has announced he is not running for a fourth term in 2022.

Former 6th District Congressman Mark Walker launched his campaign for the Senate on Dec. 1, 2020, and although there has been a lot of speculation about other candidates, including President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, McCrory has ended the speculation about his intentions with the official announcement.

13th District Congressman Ted Budd sounds like he is planning to run but hasn’t made it official.  Budd, unlike Walker and McCrory, would have to give up his seat in Congress to run for the Senate.

McCrory ran for governor three times and won once in 2012.  He first ran for governor in 2008 and was defeated by Bev Perdue in a year when President Barack Obama carried the state.  In 2012, when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney carried North Carolina, McCrory defeated Democrat Walter Dalton for governor.  In 2016, a year when Republicans won big in North Carolina – with Trump carrying the state, Burr being reelected, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest winning reelection, Republicans winning 10 of 13 congressional seats and winning majorities in both the NC state House and Senate – McCrory lost a close race to Gov. Roy Cooper.

But having run three statewide races gives McCrory a considerable advantage in running against Walker, Budd and Trump, if she enters the race.  None of them have run a statewide race.

In the press release announcing his campaign, McCrory said, “The US Senate is split right down the middle… that puts Vice President Kamala Harris in charge, giving the Democrats everything they want to radically change America for generations to come.  It’s time to join together and take back the Senate from Kamala Harris. So I’m in.”

McCrory also said, “I’m proud of my record of growing the economy, balancing budgets, cutting taxes, and creating jobs.  Conservatives must hold this seat in 2022 to prevent Kamala Harris and Chuck Schumer from enacting radical liberal policies.  I look forward to doing just that.”

McCrory grew up in Jamestown, graduated from Ragsdale High School and was mayor of Charlotte from 1995 to 2009.  More recently McCrory has been hosting a morning radio show on WBT in Charlotte, the Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson.