Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal, and written by CJ Staff.
Two major figures in N.C. Republican politics have announced they will not run in the 2020 elections. U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows will not seek re-election in the 11th District. Former Gov. Pat McCrory will not try to reclaim his old job.
McCrory will instead focus on a possible U.S. Senate run in 2022. Incumbent Republican Richard Burr has announced he will not seek re-election when his term ends that year.
Meadows' surprise announcement opens the door for a new representative in North Carolina's westernmost congressional district. Meadows joins fellow Republican incumbents George Holding (2nd District) and Mark Walker (6th District) in announcing plans not to seek re-election. Filing for all N.C. congressional seats ends at noon Friday.
Unlike Holding and Walker, Meadows did not face the prospect of an uphill re-election battle tied to his newly drawn district. Pundits of all political stripes believe the new 2nd and 6th Districts are much more favorable to Democratic candidates in 2020. The new 11th District still appears to favor Republicans.
But Meadows announced his plans via a statement issued Thursday morning. "After prayerful consideration and discussion with family, today I'm announcing that my time serving Western North Carolina in Congress will come to a close at the end of this term."
Meadows, a founder of the influential conservative House Freedom Caucus, does not plan to walk away from politics.
"My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning,"
Meadows said. "This President has accomplished incredible results for the country in just three years, and I'm fully committed to staying in the fight with him and his team to build on those successes and deliver on his promises for the years to come. I've always said Congress is a temporary job, but the fight to return Washington, D.C. to its rightful owner, We The People, has only just begun."
Meadows has served four terms in the U.S. House since election in 2012. Haywood County businesswoman Lynda Bennett has announced plans to seek Meadows' job. Other Republicans could file by Friday's noon deadline.
McCrory's announcement came during his regular gig as a morning talk show host on WBT radio in Charlotte. He had served one term as governor from 2013 through 2016 before losing a re-election bid to current Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. McCrory had indicated in the past that he would not seek a rematch with Cooper.
But McCrory appeared to reconsider another run for the Executive Mansion after a recent Civitas poll suggested he would beat Lt. Gov. Dan Forest by double digits in a contested Republican gubernatorial primary.
The morning radio announcement puts speculation about a McCrory-Forest matchup to rest. "Despite very favorable surveys ... I've made a decision not to run for governor,"
McCrory told radio listeners. "First, I don't want to cause further division within the Republican Party."
McCrory added that he will "seriously consider" a 2022 run for U.S. Senate.