NC-06: It’s Walker in a Runaway

I don’t think anybody saw this beatdown coming.  The entire GOP membership of the North Carolina US House delegation (except Walter Jones)  had endorsed Phil Berger, Jr. and had raised money for him.  Howard Coble, the popular retiring incumbent, endorsed Berger, Jr. and campaigned hard for him. Berger, Jr. had significantly out-fundraised opponent Mark Walker. But in the end, Walker ran away with a 60-40 runoff victory.  Walker now  faces Democrat Laura Fjeld in November.

Observers are quick to label Berger, Jr.’s defeat as a slap at his powerful dad.  Sometimes, the apple does fall far from the tree.  I was a big fan of Ronald Reagan.  Not so much of Ron Reagan, Jr.  I was more impressed with George W. Bush than I was with George H.W. Bush.

Here are a few thoughts and insights I’ve put together as an outside observer, and after talking to some insiders:

  1. The hyper-aggressive tone of the Berger campaign.  It’s one thing to personally attack a career politician.  It’s another to try to do it to a charismatic, attractive Baptist preacher.  Berger and his team reportedly referred to his opponent, a Greensboro pastor, as a  “deranged, unhinged pathological liar”.   Stuff like that doesn’t sit well with people when you are talking about an ordained minister.It really made my antenna twitch when I saw state Rep. John Blust (R-Guilford) jump into this race so openly on behalf of Walker.  Blust was a vocal opponent of former House speaker Jim Black and his GOP sidekick Richard Morgan.  (I had the chance to meet Blust during our efforts to unseat Morgan.)  After Morgan was ousted, Blust got married and got real quiet.  His partner-in-hellraising John Rhodes was defeated in a primary. So, Blust was all that was left of the tell-em-like-it-is caucus.

    The fact that Blust took this opportunity to emerge so forcefully back onto the political scene told me that there was a serious tidal change going down. 

  2. A slap at Coble. Howard Coble had a death-grip on the seat since the early 80s.  He had a moderate voting record, but won the respect and support of the district’s voters with his genial personality and effective constituent service.  Being likable is very important to the electorate Phil Berger Jrin this district.  Walker, who has been fighting for this seat longer than anyone else,  had firmly cemented himself in the minds of voters as likeable. In fact, he won 53 percent of the vote in Berger’s home county. The hardball tactics of the  Berger campaign hurt their guy’s ability to come off as likeable.  Coble also learned a hard lesson that many elder statesmen headed for retirement have had to learn — People love you as long as you are in a position to do something for them.  Once they get a whiff of the fact that you’re leaving, an awful lot of folks develop amnesia.


  3. Walker:  A liberal?  This was the toughest one for me to swallow.  Yes, I agree that he made some amateurish mistakes in the campaign.  He hasn’t run for office before.  That was to be expected.  But the guy has deep roots in Conservatives for Guilford County (C4GC) and had those folks working hard for him.  C4GC is not exactly a hotbed of big government establishment-ism.
  4. The sheriffs.  It really threw up some red flags for me when I saw that the sheriffs from Berger’s judicial district (he is the Rockingham County DA) went with Walker.  Something is wrong when the top cops in a prosecutor’s area aren’t standing with him.  Those guys are all supposed to be working as a team.
  5. Son could learn from Dad.  While Junior went hardball in his congressional race, Sr. has taken the more private, diplomatic route with his and his chamber’s spat with Gov. McCrory.  Berger, Sr. has repeatedly said he will not fight things out in the media, and that he prefers talking directly to people. I don’t see this affecting Sr.’s political career in a significant way.  

Well, the preacher is now in the state and national spotlight.  In an era where Republicans are starving for genuine conservative leadership that actually listens to and represents the grassroots, let’s hope Mark Walker is FOR REAL.



27 thoughts on “NC-06: It’s Walker in a Runaway

  1. The progressives will want to defeat the conservative candidate in this race, at all costs. Stay tuned!

  2. Sadly Walker is another pro-amnesty vote we would be sending to congress. On his own website he supported a pathway to
    citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants. Then he took that off his website a few months ago but forgot to change his mobile website. As of 4 weeks ago I noticed depending on which version of his website you were looking at he had two completely opposite views on amnesty.

    1. Walker has explained his view on amnesty at several public forums, but the “supports amnesty” rumor persists, even though it’s entirely false! His website was created while he was a pastor, just beginning his run for office. He has never believed in amnesty without first securing the borders & enforcing existing laws, but with a “pastor’s heart” he was hoping for a way to deal with the issue from a humanitarian standpoint. As he began to study the border issue in depth, his views evolved and his position is firmly AGAINST AMNESTY as a solution. As someone who is politically active and fairly well-acquainted with Mark, I am very comfortable that his views match my own anti-amnesty views.

      1. I have a big problem with anyone who does not care about or understand the need for protecting U.S. sovereignty, which is under constant attack. Amnesty later is still amnesty. I do hope he has seen the light and would reject any form of amnesty/legalization of illegal aliens.

    2. Not true. Been with him from the beginning. Please look up the definition of amnesty! There is a difference in saying that their is no penalty for being illegal. It’s another thing to require them to become legal, tax paying citizens to be able to stay.

      1. NO, it is NOT! That is the Marco Rubio copout.

        ANYTHING that gives those lawbreaking Mexican line jumpers ANY better position than those who remain in their home countries after properly applying and being rejected is immoral and unethical, and is AMNESTY. Those who obey the immigration laws should never never never be put in a worse position that those who arrogantly thumb their noses at our immigration law.

        Any ”pathway to citizenship” or ”pathway to legal status” for those who have broken our immigration laws is absolutely and totally unacceptable, and any Republican advocating that should be primaried and removed from office.

    3. Jim,
      How about show up at one of Mark’s speaking engagements and ask him yourself. I can assure you, Mark is not for amnesty!

      1. You have to be careful about how to ask this. Marco Rubio says the Gang of 8 bill is ”not amnesty”. Thom Tillis says he is ”against amnesty” but for a ”pathway to citizenship”.

        Use the left’s terms. Ask if he is for a ”pathway to citizenship” or for allowing illegals to remain in the US under any circumstances. If he says yes to either, then he is for amnesty.

        1. Raphael,
          Do we not have immigration laws? Please explain to me what “pathway to citizenship” is.
          Wouldn’t you say that we indeed, do, have a pathway to citizenship? As long as they do it, legally?
          Im not following your logic here with your proposed question. Its a loaded/trap question.

          Just a question. Not picking fights here.

          1. Immigrants – those who properly apply and are accepted – have always had and should have a pathway to citizenship.

            Illegal aliens on the other hand, have never had a pathway to citizenship and should never have one, especially since there are always much better qualified people who have applied properly from their home country but not been accepted. Lawbreakers should never be rewarded over those who obey the law.

            What the open borders left wants to do is give that pathway to citizenship to illegal aliens, and that is just not acceptable.

  3. The sheriffs not endorsing Berger is a huge red flag but would correct to say Sam page the rockingham county sheriff stayed out of race to endorse either party . The neighboring counties in the 6th district boundaries endorsed walker in Barnes guilford county and Johnston in Alamance county.

    Another red flag is the lobbyist money and keep conservatives united PAC . Berger raised more money but had it handed to him on silver platter with no campaigning needed . Plenty of people are sick and tired of the big money politics and like minded people in this part on N.C. are making their vote heard with what we saw yesterday.

    Rep. Howard Coble lost a lot of fans with in the past he never endorsed anybody in his own party in a race but did in this race which was a bad move on his part.

    Good luck with the democrats already painting Walker as a extremist , it won’t fly.

    1. “Rep. Howard Coble lost a lot of fans with in the past he never endorsed anybody in his own party in a race but did in this race which was a bad move on his part.”

      Bad timing, too. There are plenty of folks outraged from two months ago that the Governor and Senator Burr decided to endorse Tillis AHEAD of the Primary.

      Coble may have misjudged this one. I DO wonder how much pressure he received from Congressional leaders or NCGOP leaders or GA leaders to make this endorsement.

  4. The best candidates lost in the first round, and I had mixed feelings between this pair. I am somewhat wary of the social issue conservatives who go off the rails on other issues, but I will keep my fingers crossed with Walker. I am concerned that he has at least at times apparently supported amnesty for illegal aliens. Maybe he has finally got his head straight on that. We will see.

  5. Walker was a better choice out of a weak field.

    Right now Id take Huckabee over Rand Paul if they were running for Congress. Walker will be focussed on social issues.

    Notice the one good guy, Walter Jones stayed out of it. Walker should look to Walter Jones who is with him on social issues 100%.

    Boehner isn’t going to appoint Walker to the head of the judiciary or any important committee task.

  6. Mr. Walker is the real deal and a good man. He is not and has not ever been for amnesty. His views on immigration have shifted, his view on amnesty has not. He is against it.

  7. Junior lost for one reason.His dear deranged daddy and his fight with McCrory over the budget,The polls show the independents are leaving the republicans in droves and quite a few republicans are fed up with dear old dad.The senate is going to lose at least 8 seats this Nov and quite possibly Tillis seat which might leave the US Senate in democrat control.Thanks to dear old dad.Obamacare will not be the big issue this Nov in NC,the senate budget will, attacking,elderly,children,blind and the poor and Alzheimer’s victims.Setting up its own “death panels.”And pushing “granny over the cliff.”

    1. The voice of Blueprint – the person calling himself Art Bradshaw – speaks!

      Actually, Tillis pushing a liberal budget is what is likely going to sink him, as more and more conservative voters in the party base decide that they cannot hold their noses to vote for him. Governor McCrory’s actions are just hardening the attitudes of conservative voters against Tillis. What is happening is a real shame, because with a good and competent candidate, we should have been able to beat socialist sock puppet Hagan. Of course, a lot of it is TIllis’ own stupidity in not resigning as Speaker when he got into the Senate race as Oklahoma House Speaker T. W. Shannon did this year when he entered their Senate race.

      Tillis had a good chance this legislative session to increase conservatives’ comfort level with him, but now seems to be more inclined to give conservative voters heartburn. That is not a way to win a Senate race.

  8. Why did you omit the reason Berger and his supporters called Mark Walker a “deranged, unhinged pathological liar”? During the TWC debate Walker claimed that Berger, in his position as Rockingham County district attorney, was reprimanded by the N.C. Supreme Court for an ethics violation – in 1935!
    You point out that Walker is a minister. Guess he missed the parts of the Bible that frown upon bearing false witness.

    1. Jennifer,
      Did you read Walkers comments the following day about his mistake?
      He admitted that he got the info from a “trusted” source and the info turned out to be false (way false) and when he makes a mistake he will be the first one to own up to it. (paraphrased)

      Remove the plank, Jennifer.

      1. If by own up you mean not to apologize for leveling a false professional charge against someone and having your campaign blame the berger campaign for planting false information, then yes Walker owned up to his mistakes.

  9. Regarding the issue whether or not Walker supported “amnesty”.

    Walker supported at one time a pathway to citizenship then evolved to supporting a pathway to legalization for the 12 million undocumented persons in our country. That remains his position today.

    Because he states that the borders must be closed, laws enforced, and undocumented persons pay fines/fees BEFORE they are given legal status, he does not believe this is amnesty. So according to his definition of the term, he does not support amnesty and never has.

    For people who believe that any pathway to citizenship or legalization that does not include returning to their native land is amnesty, then Walker DOES support amnesty.

    It depends on how you define it.

    Walker is a good man who did not have the experience to maintain honesty in the face of the tidal wave of attacks. He told several lies throughout the campaign…denied having any connection to the Guilford tea party group although he was a generous donor to it, said that the website with his stands on immigration was a fake created by his opponents then he admitted to the News and Record that it was his and his position had evolved, then when he claimed that Berger had been reprimanded by the NC Supreme Court, his campaign claimed he had been fed the wrong information by the Berger campaign!

    Character is what is exposed when people are in difficult and challenging positions. Walker, for all of us Christian trappings and beliefs, is lacking in integrity.

    However, he will be a strong advocate for many of the causes that conservatives believe in. We should support him.

    Had the superpac stayed out of this election, Berger would have won the first primary with 40%, in my opinion. Superpacs and negative campaigns work best in races where the voters aren’t able to actually meet the candidates. Walker is an extremely likeable and polished man so the attacks backfired.

    1. From your description, it seems like he supports amnesty. Giving those who thumb their noses at our immigration laws and invade our country any advantage whatsoever over those who apply properly and stay in their home country when rejected IS amnesty. It is also immoral and unethical.

  10. Looks like we got a Baptist preacher squaring off with a UNC administrator.

    It is a choice between fried chicken and sweet tear or tofu and Teavana® Oprah Chai Tea Latte.

    The voters will have a chance to punish the GOP and change the menu in the Congressional Dining Room. I’m thinking Coble was a barbecue and corn bread type.

  11. It seems like people on here who support Walker are blindly justifying a disastrous policy like giving a pathway to citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants. Is this now the policy the conservative grassroots support?

    1. Absolutely NOT! The grassroots added a plank to the state GOP platform from the floor at the recent state GOP convention by overwhelming voice vote opposing any pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens.

      Amnesty is not even the Republican position, much less the conservative one/

      1. Which is why many people did not support Walker. His campaign attacked anyone who said he supported amnesty. Berger never got personal with Walker but Walker’s campaign not only attacked him on a personal level and had his campaign allies go after Berger’s supporters on blogs, but even had his supporters start a move to dump Senator Berger!

        If conservative activists are willing to overlook Walker’s stand on immigration while working to defeat the most effective, conservative legislative leader during our lifetimes (Senator Berger) there is something really wrong!

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