NC-03: Tata coming after Walter Jones?

It’s no secret that Walter Jones irritates the political establishment.  The GOPe tried to get him in the 2014 primary.  tataNow, it appears they’re trying again with a new face: 

Tony Tata, the state transportation secretary, is seriously considering challenging Congressman Walter Jones in the GOP primary next year.

The contest would likely draw national attention, creating a contest between an Army general who is an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran against one of the few Republican critics in Congress of continued U.S. military involvement in the Middle East.

“He is seriously considering it,’’ Carter Wrenn, a veteran GOP strategist for Sen. Jesse Helms and others, said Monday. “He hasn’t made up his mind. I think he would be a pretty unique candidate.’’

Wrenn said Tata’s background as a combat veteran was particularly important at a time when the nation is figuring out how to deal with heightened threats from ISIS and Al Qaeda and other Middle Eastern groups.

“He has something to offer in the way of leadership that we don’t have now,’’ Wrenn said.

Wrenn said that Tata has been giving careful thought to running in the 3rd Congressional District, talking with consultants about how to set up and finance a campaign. Wrenn said he did not know if Tata would resign from his DOT post if he ran, but that was possible.

Translation: Wrenn and some other GOPe figures are busy recruiting Tata for the race.  (Carter Wrenn gave us Renee Ellmers in 2010, remember.)  Carter called his buddy Rob RielleWho? to get this trial balloon out there.  MORE: 

[…] Tata would potentially be the most high-profile challenger to Jones since Jones was elected in 1994. Jones has earned a reputation as a party maverick, criticizing U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and often straying on party-line votes. He has been close to libertarians such as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and his father, former Congressman Ron Paul.

Not easywj

But it would not be an easy race for Tata. There has been a Jones — either Walter Jr. or his father — representing Eastern North Carolina since the mid-1960s.

There has not been a congressional incumbent defeated in a North Carolina primary since 1956. But Jones was pressed in his last election, winning in the primary over a well-financed opponent, Taylor Griffin, a former aide to President George W. Bush, by a 52-45 percent margin.

Griffin fought charges that he was the Washington establishment candidate — something that Tata will certainly work to avoid.

Although Tata has only lived in North Carolina for the past five years, he has been seen as an increasingly attractive figure in GOP circles because of a resume that includes leadership in the military, education and now transportation.

The West Point graduate served as a paratrooper and was Ranger-qualified, and rose with the 10th Mountain Division, the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne. He was deputy commanding general of U.S forces in Afghanistan (2006-2009).

He was chief operating officer of the District of Columbia Schools before coming to Raleigh, where he was superintendent of Wake County public schools (2010-12.) He was ousted when the Democrats won control of the Wake County school board.war

McCrory named Tata state DOT secretary in 2013, where he has been widely seen as one of McCrory’s best appointments.

In his spare time, Tata writes action novels, with the proceeds going to a wounded warrior program.

It’s amazing.  Tea Party / grassroots folks talk about coming after GOP incumbents and it’s treated like treason.  Stuff like this?  Apparently, it’s not a problem.  You can sit back and fold your hands and smile while Tea Party influence is purged from office or any other party position.  Or you can move into the same war-footing the GOPe has apparently already assumed. 

19 comments for “NC-03: Tata coming after Walter Jones?

  1. Nikki Rev
    June 1, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Toll road Tata. Ick.

    • GUWonder
      June 2, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Tata changed the distribution of highway construction funds to the detriment of eastern North Carolina. He took rural NC’s money and sent it to the urban areas. Now he wants to put toll roads in places in the 3rd district. I suspect that will go over like a lead balloon with voters in the 3rd, who will say ”ta-ta” to Tony.

      • Nikki Rev
        June 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm

        Tata gets no love from the 3rd district after his method of handling the Bonner bridge and the Oregon Inlet dredging. Left NC ports inoperable to commerce and folks unable to travel to Cape Hatteras.

  2. Matt
    June 1, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    He would put everyone to sleep. The carpetbagger issue will come up

  3. PolyTic
    June 1, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Another carpet bagger who runs the corrupt NC DOT. He’s got two chances of beating Walter Jones, slim & none, and slim has left the building

  4. Toxhandler
    June 1, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    You don’t give Wrenn enough credit. He didn’t just give us Ellmers, he saddled us with George Holding as well. The same guy who said “send me to Washington and I’ll cut, cut, cut spending” and then proceeded to vote for debt ceiling hikes and the CR-Omnibus.

  5. Thomas in Jacksonville
    June 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Tony Tata does not live in this district. He is not from around here. He does not know this area and it’s problems. The reason they are pushing him is he will be a good little party dog doing as the machine masters tell him. Even the people that don’t like Walter Jones will not vote for this guy. Phillip Law is running for the same seat. He is a combat veteran and lives in the district. Why isn’t the machine pushing for him? He is not a “fetch it” boy like Tony Tata would be.

  6. Raphael
    June 2, 2015 at 2:33 am

    Has Tata even bothered to register Republican? Last time I checked, he was still an Unaffiliated.

    Walter Jones is the only A rated Congressmen in NC from Numbers USA, the major anti-amnesty group, while liberal Tony Tata gave drivers licenses to illegal alien ”dreamers”.

    Then there is Tata’s highway funding plan which royally screwed eastern North Carolina, including the Third District. That and toll roads is going to make that DOT position a lead anchor.

    Walter Jones is tied with Mark Meadows in the most trusted Congressional rating, from Heritage Action, for being the most conservative Congressman in North Carolina. He was the only one who voted against CRomnibus both on the procedural vote and the final vote. He was one of two was NC who voted to dethrone the awful John Boehner as Speaker.

    Walter is the sort of conservative we need in DC, not the establishment clown Tata.

    And if Tata does this, look for lots of eastern NC conservatives to sit on their hands in the governors race, because McCrory will be blamed. McCrory can take that one to the bank.

  7. Myron Smith
    June 2, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Representative Walter Jones represents the people of his District. He assisted Commercial Fishermen and finally the past NC Director of Marine Fisheries, Hogard, that went to work for NOAA in DC was investigated and removed from his Position for not submitting correct expenses. NC Commercial Fishing Industries lost Millions in income with Hogard. His office does excellent responding to folks when you contact Rep. Jones. He is working to have inlets open that have been closed for 2 years. He serves the people he represents.

  8. jr cooper
    June 2, 2015 at 5:20 am

    No more carpetbaggers!

    Can’t we find some local born and bred folks? Time to take back our state!

  9. GUWonder
    June 2, 2015 at 6:16 am

    Walter Jones is a national conservative hero. No wonder the suckweasels of the establishment are gunning for him. There is a good article up over at RedState:

    http://www.redstate.com/diary/helmsconservative/2015/06/02/boehner-opponent-nc-may-get-primary/

  10. Mark
    June 2, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Tata vs Jones is a perfect indicator to teaparty and constitutionalists, or it should be. The GOP is a managed division of the Establishment, nothing more and nothing less. Anyone not dead from the neck up should be able to evaluate the inept and corruption that we call the GOP and easily become an independent voter. Will we ever learn?

    • Raphael
      June 3, 2015 at 1:46 am

      We have good conservatives like Walter Jones we need to defend in the primaries, and we have liberals like Renee Ellmers we need to take out. Having our conservatives voters within the GOP instead of neutering themselves as Unaffiliated, helps the conservative cause in the primaries.

      A good example is the battle going on right now within the GOP. It will help the conservative cause if we have Daoud or Harnett as chairman and Nix as vice chairman. Unaffiliates do not get to play in that game.

      • No Left Turn
        June 3, 2015 at 9:11 am

        Raphael, I appreciate your reminders to stay with the GOP and force it to change, instead of quitting in frustration and storming out the Party door. I need those reminders, too, because it’s disheartening to see the mess the RINOs have made of our shot at governing NC, well.

        At least twice a month, I come within a hair of quitting the GOP. The two reasons I haven’t are (1) your “Don’t leave the Party!” advice pops into my head, and (2) it’s perversely gratifying to stay and irritate the hell out of the RINOs.

        Their contempt only feeds my determination to bring them down. It’s why I’m driving across the state and paying through the nose to attend the 2015 NC GOP State Convention; I want to vote against Craig Collins and FOR the most conservative candidate for Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

        Don’t stay home on Election Day or register “Unaffiliated.”

        It’ll only make Karl Rove grin, and that’s something you don’t want on your conscience.

  11. Adam
    June 2, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Interesting to see this come up, considering it was as recently as February that establishment blogger John Wynn was saying that chances are good that Jones’ primary opponent from last year, Taylor Griffin, will take another crack at him.

    If both Tata and Griffin jump in, they’ll split the moderate/establishment GOP vote and Jones will win easily. Does this signify indecision and uncertainty in the ranks of those in the GOP looking to take Jones down?

    • Raphael
      June 3, 2015 at 1:42 am

      I heard that Griffin gave up his rented condo with rented furniture in Craven County some months ago and moved his voter registration to his parents home outside the district. That would seem to indicate that he was backing off of running as it gave up the pretense of living in the district. (Of course, he really lives in the DC suburbs).

      I do not think Jones will be caught by surprise next time, and that will make a big difference.

      • Adam
        June 3, 2015 at 8:11 am

        I had not heard that, thanks for that information. I concur with your interpretation, if he’s packing up and no longer pretending to live in the district, it strongly suggests he’s not going to run. Frankly, that makes more sense than both he and Tata jumping in; the bad guys are hardly ever that disorganized when it comes to trying to take out someone they don’t control.

  12. Earl
    June 2, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Taking on Walter Jones would be an exercise in futility for anyone.

  13. Borderhawk
    June 3, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Walter Jones has friends like Rush Limbaugh, JD Hayworth, Rand Paul and Steve King.

    Walter Jones really needs to get these more intereventionist allies of hiim to help his campaign.

    If Steve King comes to the 2nd District and has a big press conference on Illegal immigration Tata the RINO will be forced to attack King.

    Steve King in Iowa’s most Republican district got 99% of the primary vote and 62% of the general vote.

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