Media SOOOOOOOOO Wrong on NC-03, post-Jones


It’s one thing to smack around the drivebys for being stupid and inaccurate.  It’s a travesty when  the folks allegedly on OUR SIDE are doing the same.  Case in point, the frenzy over who will replace the late Walter Jones, who is being laid to rest this week.

John Gizzi — who I was a big fan of when  he was at Human Events — tells us in Newsmax that “The Democrats Could Win.”

NOT  SNOWBALL’s CHANCE.  (Wayne Goodwin, I think, would admit that.)  Who is Gizzi’s source for that headline / prediction?  Marc Rotterman.  Yes, the public television talk show host who still calls himself a political consultant.  (Though, I can’t remember a significant race he’s won in the last two decades.) 

Full disclosure:  As a driveby, I covered his 1996 management of David Funderburk’s spectacular collapse against Bob Etheridge in NC-02.  

Here’s Newsmax:

Barely 48 hours after the death Sunday of veteran Rep. Walter B. Jones, R.-N.C., speculation began in the congressman’s 3rd District (Eastern North Carolina) and in Washington, D.C., over what will happen to his House seat. 

Given the conservative nature of the district — a bastion of support for the late Republican Sen. and conservative hero Jesse Helms — the initial betting is that it will remain in Republican hands in the yet-to-be-determined special election. 

But a few experts are beginning to see a divisive Republican primary field offering Tar Heel Democrats a unique opportunity to put the 3rd District in their column.

Veteran GOP strategist Marc Rotterman, who engineered Jones’ initial election to Congress 1994, said as much when he spoke to Newsmax.

“Engineered” ????  Um, I don’t think so.  I think he did some work for him, but I don’t think you can call it engineering.  MORE:

[…] “The passing of Rep. Jones represents the best chance Democrats will have to regain this seat in decades,” Rotterman told us, “He was a unique fit for the district.  Although a Democratic contender has yet to emerge, I would suspect that the Democrats will field a well-funded, well-qualified candidate.”

Rotterman spoke to us as speculation began of Craven County District Attorney Scott Thomas as the Democratic standard-bearer in a special election.  Thomas is considered a centrist in the mold of fellow prosecutor Conor Lamb, who won the nationally-watched special election last year in Pennsylvania’s historically Republican 18th District.

Scott Thomas is the brother of Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas and the two have been likened to John and Robert Kennedy.[…] 

Likened by WHOM ?????  By the way, it’s Allen who gets mentioned as the Democrat sacrificial lamb.  (Scott ain’t coming.)

Rotterman has been known to have  a grudge against the recently departed congressman Jones.  He has spent the last several cycles seeking a primary challenger to Jones.  Word is  that he has tried to persuade former Civitas boss Francis DeLuca and former NCDOT secretary (and Wake schools superintendent) and general Tony Tata to jump in.


[…] On the Republican side, the prospective field is as large as the likely field of Democratic presidential contenders for 2020.  The Carolina Journal listed eight possible contenders ranging from Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown of Onslow and State GOP Vice Chairman Michele Nix to three past primary opponents of Jones from 2014 to ’18. […]

Brown toyed with the idea some time back, but has told folks in Raleigh and his district he isn’t going to make the race.  MORE:

[…] “It would not surprise me to see anywhere between 15 or 20 folks run for this seat,” former GOP political consultant Larry Shaheen told the Carolina Journal.

Probably not THAT many, Larry.

Shaheen is from Charlotte.  He knows THAT area.  He does not know the lay of the land in the Third. Also, I know Shaheen was advising candidates as late as November 2018.  Why is he being referred to as a “former” consultant?

Turn over to The Carolina Journal, and things get worse:

Speculation has begun over who might run in a special election to succeed Republican U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, whose death Sunday left the 3rd U.S. Congressional District seat vacant. Political observers anticipate a crowded field that includes current state lawmakers and earlier challengers.

Jones, a former five-term state House member, was elected in 2018 to his 13th congressional term, saying it would be his last.

Several prospects put out feelers about a possible 2020 run for an open seat in the Republican district. With Jones’ death, contenders must decide whether they can quickly muster the three essential elements for success: messaging, money, and manpower.

“It would not surprise me to see anywhere between 15 or 20 folks run for this seat,” said former GOP political consultant Larry Shaheen. He compared the potential field to the 2012 Republican primary for the 9th U.S. Congressional District in which 11 candidates ran for an open seat after Republican Sue Myrick’s retirement.

“There’s a lot of consulting firms sniffing around down there,” Shaheen said.

Filing to run for the seat won’t begin until Gov. Roy Cooper signs a writ of election establishing the process for the special election, which is governed by a state statute.

A number of political consultants suggested candidates to Carolina Journal.

The most frequently mentioned possibilities were state legislators: Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow; Sen. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan; Rep. Greg Murphy, R-Pitt; and Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow. N.C. Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Michele Nix was suggested as well, along with Phil Law, Scott Dacey, and Taylor Griffin, each of whom lost Republican primaries to Jones from 2014 to 2018.

It doesn’t appear Griffin or Dacey will run. Both have lucrative DC-based businesses, and both got smacked around good in their races against Jones.  (Dacey’s wife appears to be angling for a local judicial seat.)  

Nix IS coming.   (She’s catching hell right now from GOP elders for a possible conflict of interest — you know, running for one office while holding a party office.)

Murphy AND Shepard are coming.  Law is coming.  As is Dare County Republican Paul Wright.  State Rep. Mike Speciale (R)  is still eyeing a run.

Former state Rep. Paul Tine (D, turned unaffiliated) of Dare County is reportedly eyeing a run as an unaffiliated.  Vanessa Sapp of Onslow County is also looking at running as unaffiliated.


[…] The district includes all or parts of Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Greene, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, and Tyrrell counties. The 2018 Cook Partisan Voter Index listed the district with a 12-point Republican advantage.

“The Democrats are working to find a candidate,” said Democratic political consultant Brad Crone. “Until you get redistricting, it’s going to be mighty difficult for a Democrat to get in there and win.” A federal court has ruled North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts unconstitutional, and ordered them redrawn for the 2020 election.

Democratic political consultant Thomas Mills said he hasn’t yet heard of any Democrats willing to test the waters.

Still, Democrats could win a low-turnout special election if they field a candidate who motivates the party’s base, Mills said. But he doesn’t see any current General Assembly Democrats giving up their seats to run for Congress. Democrats’ 2018 legislative wins erased Republicans’ veto-proof majorities in both chambers, and they might be wary about risking those hard-fought gains.

Shaheen said if he had to make the call today, Brown and Steinburg would have the best chances to take the seat.[…]

Nope.  Neither one of those two is running. MORE:

[…] Historically North Carolina elects congressional representatives who have served in the state Senate, Shaheen said. […] 

Let’s see.  Meadows didn’t.  Burr didn’t serve in Raleigh AT ALL.  Tillis served only in the House.  McHenry served in the House, but not the Senate.  Budd didn’t. Hudson didn’t. Holding didn’t. Jones served in the NC House, but not the senate.   (*Shall I go on?*)

Larry’s buddy Robert Pittenger DID serve in the state Senate.  But, he LOST a congressional race in 2018.  (*Oh, yes he did …*)

Sounds like ol’ Larry is trying to woo someone from the state Senate into running for Congress.  Brown has been a YES, and then a NO.  Will Big Larry make him  a YES again?  (All over the map, like with his lottery vote?)


[…] The Senate’s large districts often include large areas of a congressional district, providing senators broader name recognition than House members. A candidate lacking Senate experience can win, but will need a lot of money to mount a vigorous campaign, Shaheen said.

One wild card is whether someone working in Washington would come back to North Carolina to run.

Since Jones or his father, a Democrat, have represented the district for all but two years of the past half-century, Shaheen expects a spirited primary.

“There’s going to be a lot of demons that get exorcised in this, a lot of old grudges that people have been waiting to go after,” Shaheen said.[…] 

Demons?  What are they mixing in those drinks they’re serving in Charlotte? 

13 thoughts on “Media SOOOOOOOOO Wrong on NC-03, post-Jones

  1. Brant: I read the article in the “Daily Reflector” which was no entirely accurate, and what’s quoted in your article hêre. I think you’re right.

  2. surprising to not see greenville mayor pj connelly’s name not dropped in this discussion. only gop metro mayor in the state, former pirate and professional baseball player, strong fiscal conservative, and not a cultural squish like murphy. the rumor mill says murphy should stay home in the house and not get his feelings hurt moving to the big house anyway.

  3. Marc Rotterman was fired by the Walter Jones campaign years ago because he was a lousy consultant, and I don’t think has had a serious political consulting job since. He has been bitter for years over that, but if you saw some of the crap ads he produced, it is a wonder he was not fired earlier.

    The danger for the GOP in the 3rd District is the GOP nominating a liberal or a special interest oriented Republican like a Greg Murphy or a Scott Dacey or a Taylor Griffin who would cause conservatives to stay home or perhaps vote Constitution or Libertarian in protest. Murphy’s pushing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, for example, could easily make him radioactive tor conservative voters. With the asinine 30% threshold to avoid a runoff which Dallas Woodhouse, Robin Hayes, and our late general counsel unilaterally and without any authorization from any party policy making body pushed at the legislature, that sadly could indeed happen. A 30% nominee may not have the horsepower to turn out the troops for the general in a special election if he /she is seriously out of step with party principles.

    So much of the comments of these “experts’ quoted by the media just shows you how little knowledge they have of politics in eastern North Carolina.

    With a special election, the best that could happen is one solid conservative candidate emerge and that the national conservative PAC’s engage heavily to help him / her, primary and general.

  4. I like Greg Murphy a lot. He’s done a great job for Pitt County and unlike Phil Law lives in the district.

    1. We in the hard core environmental movement also like Greg Murphy, who has been a big friend of President Obama’s green energy agenda, and thus a hero to the polar bears. He understands that it is more important to save the polar bears than for his red neck constituents to have reasonably priced electricity. That is why he thumbs his nose at that silly old Republican platform and fully supports solar and wind energy in spite of its much higher cost and unreliability. Who cares about things like that when we have polar bears to save? Some may call him a Solyndra Republican, but who cares?

      Going beyond my own main issue, liberals can also appreciate Greg Murphy thumbing his nose at Republican positions on other issues, too, like his support for the big Democrat agenda item of fullfilling President Obama’s Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which Greg Murphy is a top leader in pushing. Greg Murphy was also the major proponent of Michelle Obama’s Food Desserts program in North Carolina, although that upset those silly conservatives. And when it came to President Obama’s Transgender agenda, Greg Murphy was right there supporting it by voting to repeal that hideous HB2, and he was about the only GOP state representative in that part of the state to do so.

      With Republicans like Greg Murphy, we liberals can get by even without a Democrat majority.

  5. Beverly Boswell should run for this seat. Out of all the names that have been floated none come close to being as conservative as Ms. Boswell.

  6. Danko good grief. I just spit my beer up. She can raise money. She’s lied about being a nurse. She should be on her knees everyday thanking Arthur Willians for stealing enough votes to block a real Conservative, Woolard, to give her the nod that year.

    Let’s not forget she didn’t pass the 40% threshold to avoid a runoff that year. It was 39 to 38.

    The Woolard guy showed exactly how to run a Congressional campaign against Butterfield. He got cast to the lots of a ‘RINO” because of his loyalty to Walter Jones when many of the so called “Conservatives” were against Walter.

    My of my How history is so soon forgotten.

  7. Paul, Beverly Boswell is a lot more conservative than any of the names I’ve heard so far. She never lied about being a nurse, that’s simply fake news that Dare County Commissioner Bob Woodard and Dare GOP Chairman Browny Douglas put out there to smear her. It was simply a mistake made by an intern that was quickly corrected, but that didn’t stop those RINO slime-balls from smearing her to help her opponent.

  8. Danko the problem with your narrative about Bev is many, and I mean very many, people heard her claim to be an RN. She lied. That simple. Thank you

    1. That is silly. If she had used the actual title of her job in health care, it sounds a whole lot more impressive to average folks than “RN”.

      My information is that the smears came from Steinburg, not any Dare County source. Danko has a personal grudge against those he is blaming for the smear job.

    2. Paul – oops, I mean aka Ashley. I highly doubt anyone besides you (Ashley) would give a damn or even fully know about the details of your failed races against Butterfield, Boswell, etc. But I did learn something new, or at least understand it from your perspective, and it’s why you think people don’t like you. And I can promise you that it hasn’t nothing do to with your alleged support for Rep. Jones.

  9. I hope to have the chance to vote for NC Rep Michael Speciale for our new 3rd District US Congressman. No one is more conservative with more guts and clarity of purpose than this former Marine. Join me in supporting him because Washington needs him. Trump needs him.

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