NASCAR legend Richard Petty becomes 7th Republican to disavow endorsement in NC congressional race

Danielle Battaglia, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

“Richard Petty has not endorsed any candidate for the 2024 Republican Primary,” Moffitt said. “Richard is a life-long conservative and has always been heavily involved in Republican politics but he has not made any primary endorsements in this election.”

Castelli was clearly frustrated by the situation when reached by phone Monday morning.

“This has only become an issue in the last two weeks when people started paying attention to the primary,” Castelli told McClatchy. “And this happens to be a very contentious primary here in NC06. I don’t want to be mischaracterized or anybody to make implications that I have lied or I’m presenting endorsements that I don’t have. That’s not what I do. That’s what Mark Walker does.”

Walker’s involvement?

Walker, who served as a music minister before representing the 6th district for three terms beginning in 2015, has also been accused of faking endorsements. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, House Speaker Mike Johnson, Sen. Markwayne Mullin and Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Matt Gaetz have either pulled their endorsements of Walker, or said they never gave him one in the first place.

Asked if he wanted to respond to Castelli’s comments, Walker said in a text message to McClatchy, “I love Richard Petty and NASCAR. Yesterday’s race in Atlanta was an incredible photo finish. We don’t anticipate the same for the 6th District.”


Walker’s comments could be taken as a bit tongue-in-cheek, as many believe Walker could be the race’s front-runner, but also wonder if he can secure enough votes to avoid a runoff election.

“Richard Petty has a lot of handlers,” Castelli said. “They’re probably feeling pressure from the Mark Walker camp. They probably supported him in the past. This was not an issue when I was the Republican nominee.”

Walker knows Petty. His social media accounts includes many photos with the King. But it’s unclear whether Walker has that kind of influence.

And Moffitt said she’s unaware of any pressure from Walker.


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