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.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >