At the bottom of this interesting profile on U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) is this piece of information: the congressman has not yet decided on whether or not to seek reelection and will make up his mind this summer.
Jones, who represents the state’s 3rd congressional district, has an independent streak a mile wide and unsurprisingly has emerged as a Republican critic of President Donald Trump. He has voted against the President’s position more often than any other Republican in Congress and favors an independent investigation of Russia’s potential involvement in the 2016 election.
However, there is a distinct possibility that this term could be Jones’s last. The Representative, while noting that his health is good, is determined not to spend the rest of his life in Congress (as did his father, who died in office in 1992). If that’s the case, then North Carolina could lose its most stubbornly independent – and unpredictable – congressman.
It’s probably too early to speculate on potential successors should Jones decide to call it quits, but it’s perhaps worth noting that it’s a strongly conservative district and a number of Republicans would be interested in running, some of whom are members of the General Assembly. The 3rd district also boasts a well-organized Tea Party movement – maybe Rep. Speciale will run.
Whatever happens, should Jones retire it’s safe to say his replacement will almost certainly be less inclined to vote against the wishes of the Republican leadership. Democrats and centrists alike – as well as Jones’s paleoconservative base – would miss him.