I'm not sure who saw this coming, but Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) announced he won't be seeking re-election.
The four-term Congressman from Western North Carolina made the statement just one day before candidate filing ends tomorrow - setting off a scramble by potential candidates to line up support and launch their campaign infrastructure.
According to POLITICO, Meadows looks to be weighing a role inside the Trump administration:
MEADOWSSAID he does not have a specific job with Trump locked down, but signaled he might try to work for his re-election campaign or in the administration.
ASKED IF HE WOULD serve out the remainder of his term, MEADOWS said this: “At this point, I plan to serve the people of western North Carolina until it’s decided that I can best serve the president and the American people in a different capacity. And so while there’s no immediate plans, there’s certainly discussions that have occurred and potentially could occur in the future.”
One candidate has already announced - Lynda Bennett:
Lynda Bennett strongly supports President Trump. She has always been a supporter of Congressman Mark Meadows. Moreover, Lynda will seek inclusion in the House Freedom Caucus to support open, accountable, and limited government. She understands the Constitution, the rule of law, and common sense policies promote liberty, safety, and prosperity for all Americans.
If you've ever considered a run for Congress - you have about 24 hours to decide whether to run for this open seat.
UPDATE: The Asheville Tea Party PAC has endorsed Bennett - in a lengthy announcement that includes all sorts of biographical information:
Hendersonville, North Carolina
December 19, 2019
It is with great honor and enthusiasm that Asheville Tea PAC endorses Lynda Bennett for North Carolina’s Congressional District 11. Now, more than any other time, conservatives need to stand side by side with Lynda who has openly and consistently spoken out to embrace the principles and values time tested and enshrined in our Founding documents. Congressman Mark Meadows has been a national leader who has tirelessly stood up to the corruption of the Deep State. We need a bulwark to follow that lead. Lynda Bennett is that choice.
Lynda’s passion for conservative politics led to several positions with the Republican Party including Delegate to state conventions and two national Republican conventions. Presently, Lynda serves as the Vice Chair of the Haywood County Republican Party and on the District and State Executive Committees. Her activism was encouraged through training with Tea Party Patriots, as a Sentinel with Heritage Action for America, the activism arm of the Heritage Foundation, and Freedom Works.
For the past ten years, Lynda Bennett stood on the front lines with the conservative movement to speak out for our inalienable rights and free market principles that continue to be under assault by the new Leftist party. Her life’s work has been to restore limited government, to secure individual and property rights, to safeguard our second amendment, and to protect the sanctity of life from conception to death.
Upon graduation from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Conservation in 1979, Lynda managed an apple and cherry orchard in Washington state that gave her a unique perspective into the agriculture industry and a first-hand look at free market competition. This led to a position as an instructor for Mother Earth News Magazine in Hendersonville and the small restaurant at the Eco-Village in Transylvania.As an instructor in the techniques of bread baking, food preservation such as canning, and natural food preparation, Lynda taught adults the concepts in self-sufficiency and independence from government control. Managing a small restaurant gave her insights into the workings of small business. She successfully applied this knowledge to ownership of a tourism-based vacation rental management company, a grading operation and real estate development enterprises with her husband Pat. Today, she is a successful real estate broker in Maggie Valley.
Lynda enjoyed teaching youth Sunday school and volunteering as a local Girl Scout troop leader. She also served as President of the Haywood County MLS. Today, she serves on the Haywood County Board of Equalization and Review. Lynda and her husband Pat are active members of the Calvary Road Baptist Church in Haywood County.
It is without question, that Lynda Bennett is the best successor for North Carolina’s Congressional District 11 in 2020.Lynda Bennett has Asheville Tea PAC’s full faith and support.
UPDATE: It appears Bennett's website domain was registered in October (according Whois.com):
UPDATE: According to retired NC General Assembly special counsel, Gerry Cohen, candidates who filed for other races cannot switch to this race: