It looks like one of the North Carolina GOP Congressmen who voted against reelectingRep. John Boehner (R-OH) N/A% as Speaker this year may get a primary challenge from the GOP establishment. The Raleigh News and Observer reports that state Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata is mulling moving across the state into the 3rd Congressional District to challenge conservative incumbentRep. Walter Jones (R-NC) 84%. Jones was one of two North Carolina GOP congressmen to vote for a Republican challenger to Speaker John Boehner earlier this year and continues to meet weekly with a group of conservative congressman working to replace Boehner.
Tata, who moved to NC six years ago to take the position of Superintendent of the Wake County Schools has never lived in the 3rd district and never been registered as a Republican in North Carolina. Even after appointment as Secretary of Transportation in the administration of Republican Governor Pat McCrory, Tata has remained registered as an Unaffiliated voter. Tata has run up a trial balloon to run for Congress in a district where he does not live under the banner of a party of whicch he is not a member. Tata’s potential candidacy was boomed by consultant Carter Wrenn in the newspaper article. Wrenn is the same consultant who quarterbacked the election of Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) 61%, the most liberal Republican in the NC delegation, to Congress.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) 84% is known as the fiercest Budget Hawk in the North Carolina delegation. For many years, he has consistently voted against raising the debt limit, and he has been a dependable vote against Speaker Boehner’s series of budget and debt cave ins to Obama. Jones was the only North Carolina Republican to vote against CRomnibus on both the procedural vote on the rule and on the final vote. Jones has maintained a consistent A rating from the NRA and from National Right to Life. His commitment to the unborn is symbolized by the lapel pin of two tiny feet he always wears on his jacket.
Another area where Jones and Tata do not see eye to eye is immigration. Jones is the NC delegation’s fiercest immigration hawk, earning the only ”A” raring from major anti-amnesty organization Numbers USA in NC. Tata on the other hand, controversially sided with liberal NC Attorney General Roy Cooper to authorize giving NC drivers licenses to illegal alien ”Dreamers” in NC.
Tata’s role as DOT Secretary may not play well in the rural east of North Carolina. Tata put through a new scheme of allocation of road building funds which stripped money from rural areas like the 3rd district to funnel them to urban areas like Wake County, where Tata lives. As DOT Secretary, Tata has mostly staffed the policy levels of his department with non-Republicans, including a cadre of career education bureaucrats.
Overall, for the last session of Congress, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) 84% tied with the 11th district’sRep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) 89% as the second most conservative congressman in the NC delegation in the Club for Growth rating.
Jones was the target of a major primary challenge from the Washington beltway establishment in 2014, when a young Washington, DC PR man / lobbyist named Taylor Griffin, who had never before lived in the district but had grown up in a neighboring district, was parachuted in to run against Jones, backed by lots of establishment money. National conservative pundits Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan singled out Jones victory over the well funded Griffin challenge as a major primary victory that cycle by conservatives over the establishment. That primary was closer than it should have been because the Jones campaign was slow to comprehend the level of resources that the establishment had committed to the Griffin effort.