RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former North Carolina representative who finished second in last week’s primary for essentially his old U.S. House seat announced on Wednesday that he won’t ask for a runoff and will join Donald Trump’s campaign instead.

Ex-U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, who served in Congress for six years through 2020, ran for the central North Carolina 6th District seat this year.

The top vote-getter in the six-candidate March 5 Republican primary, the Trump-endorsed Addison McDowell, failed to pass the 30% vote margin needed to avoid a May 14 runoff. But state law said it was up to Walker to formally ask for the runoff.

A campaign spokesperson confirmed that Walker will not request a runoff, meaning that McDowell will be the primary winner and almost assuredly the next 6th District representative, since he will face no Democratic opposition this fall.

Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning, the current 6th District representative, did not seek reelection, citing redistricting by the GOP-controlled legislature that made the seat lean significantly rightward. No other Democrat filed as a candidate.

Trump, in a social media posting earlier Wednesday, said that he had asked Walker, a former Baptist pastor, to “join my Campaign team to work with Faith Groups and Minority Communities, and he has agreed to immediately do so.”

“Mark and I had many Wins together, and we look forward to continuing to build bridges to all Communities in our Great Nation,” Trump wrote.

Walker, whose tenure in Congress was marked by efforts to aid historically Black colleges and universities, confirmed his hiring in a news release, saying that he had talked with Trump on Tuesday.

“I’ll continue my work as a bridge builder and am looking forward to bringing these skills to the Trump campaign,” he said.

McDowell, most recently a lobbyist for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, surfaced as a first-time candidate in December, already with Trump’s formal backing.

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