Sun. Feb 24th, 2019

Longtime Republican Rep. Walter Jones, a self-proclaimed ‘thorn in folks’s asses,’ dies at age 76

Jones spent most of his first decade in Congress as a dependable Republican vote who didn’t draw a lot consideration. Nevertheless, he first made nationwide information in 2003 when he was one in every of two Republican congressmen who, indignant at France’s opposition to the Bush administration’s plans to invade Iraq, directed Home cafeterias to redub french fries “freedom fries” and french toast “freedom toast.”

However inside a number of years, Jones got here to remorse his shenanigans and emerged as one of many few Republicans in Congress to oppose the Iraq Battle. The congressman first realized he had made a mistake in voting to take the nation to warfare after he attended the funeral of an area Marine killed in Iraq in the course of the first month of the battle. He quickly started sending letters to the households of troopers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan in what he known as his “mea culpa to my Lord.” By December of 2017, he had despatched over 12,000 of those messages.

Jones attracted a major problem in 2008 over his opposition to the Iraq Battle, however he took 59 p.c of the vote and obtained to relaxation simple for a number of years. Nevertheless, he by no means stopped being a maverick. He notably was one of many few Republicans who voted for the Dodd-Frank banking reform regulation, and he voted in opposition to John Boehner for speaker of the Home in each 2013 and 2015.

Some establishment-oriented Republicans tried to take Jones out within the 2014 major by spending closely on former George W. Bush aide Taylor Griffin. Jones survived, however by only a 51-45 unfold. The shut shave didn’t change his habits, although, and Griffin sought a rematch two years later. Nevertheless, fewer major voters had been within the temper to punish Jones this time, and he received with 65 p.c of the vote.

Jones continued to check how a lot he may vote in opposition to his get together’s management in the course of the first two years of the Trump administration. He notably voted in opposition to the Home model of Trumpcare and the GOP management’s tax invoice, and he was the one Republican within the chamber to vote in opposition to repealing main components of the Dodd-Frank Act.

In 2018, Jones once more earned a major problem from a pair of opponents, Craven County Commissioner Scott Dacey and retired Marine Phil Legislation. The 2 might have break up the anti-incumbent vote, although, and allowed Jones to flee one final time, because the congressman beat Legislation 43-29, with Dacey taking 28. Whereas Jones received, the race demonstrated majority of the GOP voters was prepared for change, and through this battle, he stated that he wouldn’t search re-election in 2020.

Nevertheless, Jones by no means obtained to go to D.C. for his last time period. Jones missed each vote within the Home from November till the top of his life due to an undisclosed sickness, and he was sworn in to his last time period within the Home again dwelling in North Carolina as a result of he was too unwell to make it to Washington. Within the last week of January, Jones’ workforce introduced that the congressman’s well being had declined after he broke his hip on Jan. 14, and he was checked into hospice. Jones died Sunday after about two weeks in hospice care.

Jones’ district, which incorporates the Outer Banks alongside the North Carolina coast, has lengthy been safely purple, and Jones’ successor is all however sure to be a fellow Republican. This seat will probably be crammed in a particular election on a date that has but to be introduced.

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