NC-03: GOP challenger Griffin wants to offer “conservative choice” to voters

download (42)Year after year, challengers from both parties have come after incumbent Walter Jones with both barrels blazing.  And year after year, Jones keeps going back for a new term in Congress.  The tales of his political demise seemed to be incredibly premature. 

Jones’ 2014 GOP primary challenger, Taylor Griffin, says he believes this is the year that Jones’ luck runs out:

”This is nothing personal against Walter Jones.  When he first ran, I supported him. He put together a pretty good voting record during his early years in the House.  But things changed. According to National Journal, he became one of the most liberal Republicans in the House. Eastern North Carolina is a pretty conservative place.  I believe they need an authentic conservative representing them in the House.  Not someone who votes conservative right in front of elections, but then goes right back to voting for a lot of spending as soon as he’s reelected.”

We chatted with Griffin via telephone Sunday evening, and our conversation topics ranged from taxes to spending to the federal debt and ObamaCare.

His Ties To The District.  Griffin is a native of Wilson, North Carolina — which he notes was in the Third District for quite a while prior to the 2011 redistricting.  He said, growing up, he and his family spent their summers in Morehead. Griffin currently resides in New Bern.  (When Jones first ran in 1994, his home was not in the Third Congressional District.)  

After attending college at Appalachian State, he took off for DC to work for Senator Jesse Helms.  From there, he went to work on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. From there, he took a job in the White House communications office — and then moved over to the Treasury Department.  He left Treasury to help co-found Hamilton Place Strategies — a DC based public policy consulting firm.

Establishment GOP influence?  Griffin adamantly denies allegations that Speaker John Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor are behind his campaign.  He says his campaign has had no dealings with either leader nor any representative of The Republican National Committee nor the National Republican Congressional Committee:

 “I am not about carrying water for someone else.  I want to go to Congress, and do what’s best for eastern North Carolina, without owing anybody — special interests, other politicians — anything.”

Griffin said the “Boehner aide” IDed as a host of his upcoming DC fundraiser recently departed from Boehner’s staff and was actually his (Griffin’s)  former roommate.  

Why There Needs To Be A Change.  Griffin says Jones has overstayed his welcome in DC, and has strayed too far from his conservative roots. He points out that Jones promised — when he first ran — to limit himself to 12 years in office.  Jones is currently completing his 20th year in office. 

Griffin also points to Jones’ votes FOR Dodd-Frank and AGAINST food stamp cuts as examples of straying. Jones recently won accolades from Tea Partiers for refusing to back the removal of the federal debt ceiling.  The challenger offers this up:

“By the time that vote on the debt limit came around, the federal spending was committed.  The conservative thing to do would have been to vote against the spending AND the debt ceiling increase.  Walter Jones voted against the debt ceiling increase, but he sure didn’t offer up much in the way of resistance to all of that spending. Send me to Washington and I am voting against both ends of that equation.”

Griffin said the question of the debt ceiling is not exactly a black-and-white decision.  He said, due to all of that committed spending, voting against the debt ceiling increase is like max-ing out your credit card and refusing to pay the bill:

“The time of year we’re looking at the debt ceiling would make a real difference for me.  If we’re in April — when our revenues are especially high — I think we can do just fine without raising the debt ceiling.  If we’re in December or January, our revenues are kind of tight, and we likely don’t have much choice.  Committing all of that spending, and then not authorizing borrowing to pay that debt, causes us to default and scares the markets.  We’ll get charged higher rates, and things will get even more expensive for us — all in the name of trying to look and sound fiscally responsible.”

What does he think should be done to deal with the federal debt?  Griffin said financial pointy-head types are predicting surpluses over the next 3 to 5 years in the federal budget.  He said Congress should use that opportunity to make some substantial payments on the debt —  before the massive retirement of baby boomers, and the ensuing demand for retirement benefits, starts straining the budget again. 

Griffin said Jones’ prickly personality has alienated him from a lot of his colleagues on The Hill — making it harder to get things done for the folks back home.  The challenger points to what he sees as inaction — or a lack of success — on issues like reform of fisheries regulation policy and Outer Banks beach driving rules that are important in the district.

ObamaCare.   Griffin was pretty blunt in his assessment of Kay Hagan and Barry Obama’s signature piece of legislation: 

“ObamaCare is the worst public policy initiative I’ve seen in my entire adult life.  It’s absolutely terrible. We need to throw it in the trash can and start over.”

Griffin says he thinks it is important for Republicans to have a plan to replace ObamaCare.  He believes tax reform and expanded use of health savings accounts are important components to the replacement debate.

Recent reports indicate Griffin is giving Jones a run for his money in the fundraising department.

The primary election will take place in May.

14 comments for “NC-03: GOP challenger Griffin wants to offer “conservative choice” to voters

  1. Raphael
    March 3, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Sorry, not buying this guy’s excuses. He is being bankrolled by Washington insiders and by Wall Street, and that’s whose tune he will dance to if he got to Washington. The Boehner guy was hardly the only establishment insider on that fundraiser invitation.

    National Journal’s rankings? What a joke! No real conservative gives that moderate-liberal publication’s ranking any credibility. Walter Jones just scored very well on the American Conservative Union ranking.

    As to living in the 3rd District, where was Griffin registered to vote prior to registering last year in Craven County? Has he ever before at any time been registered to vote within the 3rd district? No? I didn’t think so. Wilson County for many decades was in the 2nd district and was when Griffin lived there, before he moved to the DC area. After Griffin moved away, it was briefly in the 3rd district but now is not again. Griffin’s living long ago in a county that was not at the time in the 3rd district and is not today gives him NO roots in the 3rd district. He is a carpetbagger from the DC beltway.

    Griffin is also a K Streeter, and that is one thing we certainly do not need representing us.

  2. Raphael
    March 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    When it comes to conservative ratings, here is a more credible one:

    http://beaufortcountynow.com/post/10835/jones-recognized-as-a-house-conservative-leader.html

    Why does someone who professes to be a conservative use a rating from a moderate-liberal publication like National Journal?

  3. Robert
    March 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    One must read between the lines of the challengers comments. I’m not sure he’s using a good rating system.

    The New American Freedom Index http://www.thenewamerican.com/freedomindex/ is probably one of the most impartial and accurate ratings around. It uses votes considered to include significant spending and also bills taking action that is not clearly defined in the U.S. Constitution.

    Jones has a cumulative (1999 – 2013) average of 78% and session averages as follows: 100% (113th Congress: 2013-2014); 97% (112th Congress: 2011-2012); 75% (111th Congress: 2009-2010); 56% (110th Congress: 2007-2008); 78% (109th Congress: 2005-2006); 77% (108th Congress: 2003-2004); 74% (107th Congress: 2001-2002); 78% (106th Congress: 1999-2000)

    Jones is not always 100% but by far he is very much along the lines of limited government.

    Sounds like Mr. Griffin’s commentary is coming right out of the GOP play book. We already got burned with Renee Ellmers, I’m not willing to send another one to DC who does not have a clear understanding of limited government. It’s obvious from the subtle clues in Griffins comments that he doesn’t have that understanding and will be willing to walk lock step as Renee does with the GOP leadership. Too many of those kinds on both sides of the aisle.

  4. Common Sense
    March 3, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    “What does he think should be done to deal with the federal debt? Griffin said financial pointy-head types are predicting surpluses over the next 3 to 5 years in the federal budget. He said Congress should use that opportunity to make some substantial payments on the debt — before the massive retirement of baby boomers, and the ensuing demand for retirement benefits, starts straining the budget again.?”

    That’s his plan to take on the debt? pathetic, he is relying on predicted surpluses? Let me sell this guy beachfront property in KS

    What about his views on the Big Brother State we now live in? Immigration? Drones flying in the US? GPS tracking devices on our cars? Militarizing our police force? Farm Bill? Ethanol subsidies? Solar / Wind Subsidies? Tax reform? Rules of engagement for our troops? There are many more questions to ask and have answered.

    • April 16, 2014 at 3:08 am

      Taylor Griffin is another Ellmers type open borders candidate.

      He says that he doesn’t want crops rotting in the fields.

      Another amnesty speak candidate who says we can’t deport 12 million but we can force 12 million to sign up to some form of bureaucracy. His priorities are wrong. Walter Jones is a good conservative and good to have a counter point.

      • Raphael
        April 16, 2014 at 11:38 am

        Griffin is now running ads saying he is against amnesty. It looks like he is talking out of both sides of his mouth like Tilli$. I suspect he will give the Rubio doubletalk that ”a pathway to citizenship is not amnesty”. Do these beltway shysters think we were born yesterday?

        Walter Jones is the only A+ in the entire NC delegation on fighting illegal immigration according to the ratings by Numbers USA.

  5. Sammy Dodd
    March 4, 2014 at 5:13 am

    “ObamaCare is the worst public policy initiative I’ve seen in my entire adult life. It’s absolutely terrible. We need to throw it in the trash can and start over.”

    Griffin says he thinks it is important for Republicans to have a plan to replace ObamaCare. He believes tax reform and expanded use of health savings accounts are important components to the replacement debate.

    Replace??? Replace with what??? Taylor Care? Or Burr Care currently being floated around up there? Romney Care? No Thank You! How about letting the FREE MARKET do it’s job.

  6. Nancy in Craven
    March 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I had the “privilege” of hearing Griffin speak at the Craven County Women’s GOP meeting last week and he spent a good portion of the time bashing Walter Jones and using sound bites in reference as to what he believes and what he will do. Unfortunately, his message is getting some legs.

    Critical thinkers take the time to actually check out the backgrounds of both candidates. While Walter Jones has not always voted as I would prefer, he represents eastern NC in a fair, conservative manner at least 80% of the time. Yes, he has been in Washington too long, but is this chameleon who we want to replace him with?

    Just the fact that the leadership in Washington does not like Jones should make thinking people take notice. Also, check out Jones’ net worth. It has not substantially increased with his tenure in Washington.

    Griffin is an opportunist at best, and appears to be more of a Washington “insider” than Jones could ever hope to be. I hope the good people of eastern NC see through Taylor Griffin and his very questionable “association” and convenient use of Jesse Helms.

  7. Moses
    March 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    This guy (Taylor) is a complete establishment hack. Don’t fall for this clown, Haymakers.

  8. Marm
    March 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Conservatives by a lot of stripes, have many challenges in the upcoming elections but replacing Congressman Jones isn’t one of them. If he is sincere, let Mr Griffin tackle Renee or one of several others. Why, he could enter the NC Legislature and show us his “fast ball”

  9. Nikki Rev
    March 6, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    If it’s just about giving people a more “conservative” choice – then why attempt to take out the MOST conservative member of all of NC’s congressional delegation? I don’t think that conservative means what Mr. Griffin thinks it means. He could have moved to Mike McIntyre’s old district, had a winning shot, and done something good for conservatives of NC by replacing a D with an R who claims that he will vote as a conservative. The argument that Jones is “too liberal” holds no water – his stances & his record AS WELL AS his associations, show otherwise. Griffin will vote for Boehner for speaker again, and no matter how many good reps. make their way into the House, with Boehner as speaker, no liberty-furthering legislation will be allowed to see the light of day. We KNOW that Walter Jones won’t vote for Boehner for speaker, and he has the record to prove it. Griffin doesn’t even pretend that he won’t vote for Boehner. Ask him yourself…

    • Raphael
      April 16, 2014 at 11:43 am

      Griffin had never lived in the Third District before moving there last year to challenge Jones. Why did he not move to a district where there is a liberal beltway insider who does need to be primaried like Ellmers or Hudson or McHenry? Simple, because Griffin is a beltway insider himself.

      The straw poll at the 3rd District GOP convention was won handily by Walter Jones, but I am concerned that this phoney Griffin got almost 40%. He is pulling the wool over some people’s eyes.

  10. Carol
    April 9, 2014 at 2:20 am

    Walter Jones father was a great man and great elected official. Walter Jones Jr. Is nothing like his father. On Hatteras island, our beaches have been closed for six years due to bird eggs, Walter jones Sr. Was the last person to get beach nourishment on Hatteras, 41 long years ago. The business community has been destroyed and our only highway to the mainland closed, inlets cut, retreated, but not one moment of beach nourishment or stabilization. Taylor griffin can do a great job in DC, he knows it well. I’m ready for a congressman to fight for his state and listen to the people.
    I have emailed and written Jones many, many times without one time getting his response. Griffin has my vote!

    • Raphael
      April 16, 2014 at 11:47 am

      We have a Congressman who fights for the people and for principle in Walter Jones. The major conservative website, RedState.com named Walter Jones as one of only ten members of what it dubbed ”the Conservative Fight Club” – those Congressmen willing to fight not only Democrats but their own wimpy GOP leadership to try to reduce spending and debt.

      Taylor Griffin is a beltway insider and former K Street lobbyist who would be nothing but a Boehner brownnoser.

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