News: CJ Exclusives

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jones again faces two challengers for what may be his final run

Republicans Jones, Dacey, and Law vie to show voters their loyalty to President Trump's agenda;

Republican primary, U.S. House District 3 (includes all or parts of Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Greene, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell counties)

  • Walter Jones (12-term incumbent). Education: Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College), bachelor of arts; attended N.C. State University. Career highlights: Senior member of House Armed Services Committee; member of pro-life, immigration reform, prayer, liberty, and host of other congressional caucuses; served five terms in N.C. House of Representatives; ex-manager of Walter B. Jones Office Supply; former National Guard member.
  • Scott Dacey, vice chairman, Craven County Board of Commissioners. Education: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, political science degree. Occupation: Real estate development company co-owner; lobbyist practice in Washington, D.C. Career highlights: Worked in George H.W. Bush administration and Wisconsin legislature.
  • Phil Law. Education: Strayer University, information systems degree. Occupation: Security and community emergency response team trainer. Career highlights: Hewlett Packard site supervisor; U.S. Marine Corps veteran; member of veteran organizations.

All three candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. House District 3 believe President Trump is Making America Great Again. Only one believes incumbent Walter Jones will help him.

Challengers Phil Law and Scott Dacey said voters should reject Jones in the May 8 primary. Jones says he is the best man for the job.

Jones typically has primary challengers with national backing, and a three-way race might help him because it splits opposition votes. Jones has hinted strongly this would be his last run for the seat he has held since 1995.

No Democrats filed for the May primary, but unaffiliated candidates have until noon May 8 to submit petition signatures to get on the November ballot.

“He has weathered these challenges in the past, and he’s a survivor,” N.C. Free Enterprise Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Kappler said during a presentation April 23 at the John Locke Foundation. Jones defeated Law in the three-way 2016 primary by more than a 3-1 vote margin. 

Many election observers believe the 2018 election will be a referendum on President Donald Trump.

“As for the pundits and pollsters, that is not my concern,” Jones told Carolina Journal. “I believe that elections are about a choice between the candidates on the ballot, and at least in the race for the 3rd Congressional seat, there is a clear difference.”

“I think that Eastern North Carolina deserves better. I think that our president … deserves better. I know I can do this job, and I know I can win it,” Law said.

“Serving as a member of Congress is not an entitlement,” Dacey said, criticizing Jones’ voting record. Voters “have a choice between someone like that, and somebody who’s going to come at this with fresh ideas, fresh eyes, fresh legs, and a willingness to get the job done, and show up to work every single day.”

All three candidates support Trump’s tariff policy.

“It is not about punishing another country. It is about unleashing the American economic engine,” Jones said. Just the threat of tariffs can be a powerful tool to bring trading partners to the negotiating table.

“My basic economic philosophy would be that we hesitate on using a lot of tariffs,” Dacey said. But Trump campaigned on using tariffs and should have the chance to demonstrate his trade-negotiation skills.

“I think what President Trump is looking for is … fair and free trade, and I don’t think China is interested in that,” Law said, citing continuing disputes between Washington and Beijing over intellectual property uses.

The candidates agreed the $1.3 trillion spending bill Congress passed in March was excessive. Jones voted against it.

Jones said tax-cutting legislation was needed.   

“However, as often is the case in Washington, there was a reluctance to identify spending cuts that would have made it a bill that did not increase our nation’s out-of-control debt,” Jones said.

“We have a budget process that is broken, and perhaps irreparably so,” Dacey said. He believes the Senate filibuster is largely to blame, and should be scrapped.

“It was wrong that we had a bill such as that, that had so much bloat in it,” Law said. “I think one of the red line items for me was the funding for Planned Parenthood.” He opposes omnibus bills, and supports single-issue legislation. Voters put Republicans in charge, and leadership is coming up lacking, he said.

The candidates all are Second Amendment supporters and back the president’s calls to crack down on illegal immigration — including a border wall.

“We must secure our borders, and a border wall is one of the methods,” Jones said. “There are immigration laws in place that are being ignored by illegals and elected officials alike. We must enforce the existing laws, without exception.”

“Unlike our current representative, who voted against funding for the wall, I would have voted in favor of funding,” Dacey said. The wall should be built, or funding put in place before any new immigration actions are taken, he said. He opposes a special pathway to citizenship for DACA immigrants. He said they should go through the same process as any legal immigrant.

“Before we even consider DACA we need to end the chain migration, the anchor babies, the [diversity] lottery,” Law said. He thinks illegal immigrants are suppressing wages, harming the middle class, and tax dollars are being spent on them at the expense of senior citizens and other Americans with needs. He supports the border wall.

All three say Trump is doing a good job. While fighting the establishment, lobbyists, and special interests lined up against him, he steered tax reform to passage, and invigorated America’s economy, they said.

Federal Election Commission reports ending March 31 show Jones spent $349,035 since Jan. 1, 2017, and had $54,946 cash on hand. Dacey spent $215,429 since July 1, 2017, and had $139,887 cash on hand. Law spent $14,984 since Jan. 1, and had $47,579 cash on hand.