Former Republican Rep. Mark Walker on Saturday announced he’s running for governor of North Carolina in 2024.

In front of an audience at Triad Christian Academy, Walker declared that he would run for the Republican nomination to succeed the term-limited Democrat Roy Cooper as the state’s chief executive, a position that the GOP has held only four times over the past 30 years. For several months, there had been rumors about Walker running for office, and he had stated that he was “prayerfully listening” to God about it.

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Last month, a representative of the political consulting firm Walker is working with claimed that the Guilford County Republican was getting ready to run. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is barred by the state constitution from seeking a third consecutive term in the nation’s ninth-largest state.

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The Republican Party member, in 2017 and 2019, was chosen to lead the Republican Study Committee and serve as vice chair of the House Republican Conference.

Walker made his decision to not seek reelection in 2020 public on December 16, 2019. He sought the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in the 2022 North Carolina election to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

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In the 2022 Republican U.S. Senate primary, Walker, who had served in Congress for six years until 2020, came a distant third behind eventual winner Ted Budd.

Walker joins State Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Winston-Salem native and UNC-Greensboro graduate, and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Greensboro native and UNCG graduate, as the third Piedmont Triad native to enter the GOP primary. The only declared Democrat in the race is Attorney General Josh Stein, and Mike Ross, a Libertarian, is also running.