The most interesting man in Congress

by | Apr 13, 2018 | 2018 elections, Ads, NC Politics | 4 comments

Rarely do I find myself unabashedly rooting for a Republican. In fact, I really can’t remember another time that I have. Right now, though, I’m pulling for Walter Jones, Jr., in North Carolina’s Third Congressional District. Jones faces a primary from Craven County Commissioner Scott Dacey and a guy named Phil Law. The winner will be the next Congressman since no Democrat filed in the race.

Walter Jones is the last of a breed. He doesn’t fit into too many categories. He’s a traditional conservative in the mode of the old conservative Democrats that we used to call Jessecrats. He’s a small government guy who is a strong fiscal conservative and a pro-life Catholic.

He’s also one of the strongest critics of the country’s policies in the Middle East. He initially cheered on the war in Iraq and is credited with coming up with the term “Freedom Fries.” Since the invasion, he’s had a complete change of heart. He believes his support for the war was one of his biggest mistakes. He writes condolence letters to every family who loses someone in our wars.

Jones votes his conscience almost every time. He’s been punished repeatedly for not adhering to GOP orthodoxy in Congress. He’s got an odd collection of allies and friends in Congress. He’s worked with Rand Paul and Dennis Kucinich. Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows just endorsed him. He’s a man who is difficult to pigeonhole. That’s why I like him. We need more people like Jones on both sides of the aisle.

His main opponent is Scott Dacey, a guy who would go to Congress and just be another foot soldier for the establishment. Dacey is running TV ads and wrapping himself around Donald Trump in a district that went heavily for Trump in 2016. He’s hoping to rally the base and use Jones’ independence against him.  As far as I can see, there’s nothing interesting about Scott Dacey.

Jones says if he wins the election, this will be his final term. He’s been in politics all of his life, first as a Democrat in the legislature and then as a Republican in Congress. His father represented eastern North Carolina in Washington before him. Jones is a man of integrity and conscience who seems unbowed by political pressure. Congress is better with Walter Jones, Jr. there.


  1. James

    Walter Jones and I would disagree on far more than we agree on, and the things we do agree on we probably do so for different reasons. But he’s a member of a nearly extinct group; a Republican who has managed to retain some integrity and principle at a time when those commodities have become vanishingly rare among the elected in his party. The majority, it seems, have sold their souls to K Street with little care for the damage it does to their constituents.

    If he does indeed retire after this term, the US House will be the poorer for it. He brings with him a reasonableness that could actually get something done in Congress if more of its members were possessed of it.

  2. willard cottrell

    It is *interesting* that Meadows has endorsed him. Meadows has nothing to show for his tenure in Congress but negativity and confusion. He may be the Freedom Caucus spokesperson, but that group has done nothing to better the lives of Americans or North Carolinians. Given that Meadows is simply a trumPutin lackey, Dacey must be a real piece of work.

  3. Fetzer mills jr

    Thank you Thomas. I’ve known Walter since he was a Democrat in the legislature. I don’t always agree with him but he thinks things through and does what he thinks is right. He’s honest, recognizes his mistakes and is quick to own up to them. Walter Jones is a good man. I’m sure he’s the type of man everyone would like for their representative. Few Americans are represented by congress people who genuinely care.

  4. Rick gunter

    Thank you, Thomas Mills, for a splendid column on Congressman Walter Jones. As a native Tar Heel now living and working in Virginia, I keep up as best I can with North Carolina politics. My native state has broken my heart repeatedly in recent years, so much so that I, frankly, am glad I don’t live there any longer. But one of the Carolina politicians I admire is Republican Walter Jones. He and I probably disagree on many issues, but I admire his independence and decency. Thank you for recognizing it and saying so in print.

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