North Carolina Republican Richard Burr is not running for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate, creating an open seat for the 2022 election season and attracting plenty of interest from Democrats and Republicans.
The Senate is evenly divided with 50 Democrats or independents who caucus with them and 50 Republicans, which means races in swing states like North Carolina are sure to attract attention and money.
Republicans have won four consecutive Senate races in North Carolina (Sen. Thom Tillis in 2020 and 2014 and Burr in 2010 and 2016) and have won six of the last seven.
Here’s a look at who has declared their candidacy and who has said they won’t run, as of Feb. 19. And then there are those who are part of the “Who’s running?” conversation but have yet to discuss their intentions.
We’ll update this story as candidates make themselves known.
Who is running for US Senate in NC?
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican, announced his candidacy on Dec. 1. Walker, from Greensboro, opted not to run for reelection in 2020 after his seat was redrawn into a Democratic-leaning district. At that time, he said he had the backing of former President Donald Trump for a Senate bid. “I see no reason why that’s dissipated,” Walker said in December about having Trump’s support.
Former N.C. Sen. Erica Smith, a Democrat, has been a candidate since last year. She is planning a launch event for later in the spring. Smith lost in the 2020 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate to nominee Cal Cunningham. (Tillis defeated Cunningham to win reelection.) She vowed a different campaign this time. Smith has already backed Medicare for All, which she did not do in the 2020 primary.
State Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Democrat, announced his candidacy in late January. Jackson, 38, is from Charlotte and considered a run in 2020. He was leaning toward a run in 2022 when the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol “cemented the decision,” he said in announcing his candidacy. Jackson, who has a strong social media following, announced he raised $500,000 in the first two days after entering the race.
Who’s considering running?
Republican Lara Trump, who is married to former President Donald Trump’s son, Eric, is a Wilmington native and N.C. State graduate. She was a frequent presence on the campaign trail for her father-in-law. In a December interview with McClatchy, she did not rule out a run for office some day. There have been several “will…