FIVE ROOKIES? More changes in the air for NC congressional delegation?

frank reneeWe’ve got three open seats this year — districts 6,7, and 12.  So, we’ll definitely be adding three newcomers to our state’s delegation to DC.  But serious election observers suggest close primary races in the 2nd — held by Renee Ellmers — and the 3rd — held by Walter Jones — could give our state an additional TWO newcomers in the nation’s capital. 

In the second district, establishment types are poo-pooing and dismissing the upstart primary campaign of Frank Roche.  He’s low on cash, and has some PR problems lingering from past political ventures.  But Ellmers has created a lot of PR problems for herself — making this primary vote a choice for voters on who they despise the least.  Credible sources on the ground tell me that Ellmers is in serious trouble in Randolph and Lee counties — two of the more populous and conservative counties in the district.  (Ellmers lost Randolph County in the 2012 GOP primary to an underfunded, unknown challenger who didn’t live in the district.)  Here in Moore County, where we’re based, we’re not seeing much love for her either.  

The sense I get from talking to people is that her stand on illegal immigration is KILLING her with voters.  It’s not necessarily an embrace of Roche.  In 2012, Ellmers was bombarding the airwaves with ads.  We’re seeing little to none of that this time around.  She’s not making any public appearances in this neck of the woods, and there are few, if any, yard signs out touting her reelection.

Ellmers has been busy interfering in the 7th district primary on behalf of David Rouzer, and recently threw her support publicly to Thom Tillis’ US Senate campaign.  It’s all going to come down to turnout in the 2nd.  Renee is not doing much of anything to inspire people to take to the streets to vote her back to DC.  From what I see and hear, early voting is WAY down from where it was last year.  It is a prime environment for an upset in the 2nd district GOP primary.

If Ellmers does manage to slip past Roche, she may have a problem in the general with Democrat nominee Keith Crisco.  Crisco is from Randolph County — a jurisdiction that has proven itself to be hostile ground to the incumbent.  Randolph Republicans tell me Crisco frequently supports Republican candidates locally, and has been lobbied for years to switch parties.  Sticking with Renee could very well flip this safe Republican seat to the Democrats. download (90)

There is also an interesting story developing in the 3rd district — represented by 20 year veteran Republican Walter Jones.  Taylor Griffin moved back to the state from DC to mount a Republican primary challenge.  He’s picked up a lot of money from DC-based establishment sources.  Sarah Palin has endorsed him. The Crystal Coast Tea Party has endorsed Griffin.  The feedback we’re getting from the 3rd appears to illustrate a very divided Republican primary electorate.

I’m not ready to write Walter’s obit yet.  He’s been in some tough fights in the past and has managed to escape.  But this one looks really tough and quite perilous for the incumbent.  

18 thoughts on “FIVE ROOKIES? More changes in the air for NC congressional delegation?

  1. I am a member of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots, and the administrator of their website ( as well. As most conservatives will concede, the CCTPP is likely the largest and most organized Tea Party group in eastern NC, with the most active website. This would be even more true for the area within North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District.

    Amongst our fellow Tea Partiers, the CCTPP is known for the degree of research we put into vetting the candidates that will appear on our local election ballots. We put a lot of effort into determining which aspirants have the political ideology and policy prescriptions that are most closely aligned with the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots, and with Tea Party organizations nationwide.

    Taylor Griffin first appeared before the members of the CCTPP meeting in early October of 2013. Since then, Griffin has appeared before our group three more times. Each time, the interest of our membership in his candidacy grew, and with it the intensity of the scrutiny we applied to his political ideology, the positions he had publicly taken on the issues of the day (mostly via his website), and his policy prescriptions on issues that we deemed relevant, but that had not garnered much focus in the media. The Q-and-A of our members was augmented by the research that I, as webmaster for the group, did to undergird the several posts I put up on our website in support of his candidacy. With the exception of the opposition research professionals hired by the respective campaigns, I doubt that anyone can be more comfortable in their assessment of a candidate than I am about Taylor Griffin.

    For readers who are still of an open mind on this race, I invite you to visit our website and read the postings about the two candidates. If you take me up on this invitation, I think you will come away persuaded that Taylor Griffin has earned your vote next Tuesday. For our detailed refutation of certain allegations about Taylor Griffin, including the “working lobbyist” lie and several others, go to this link:

    1. Your Tea Party group may be an outlier. Every Tea Partier I know in the district is supporting Congressman Jones.

      Taylor Griffin is a slick dude, which I guess comes from working in the PR field all of his working life, so he is good at telling you what you want to hear and structuring what is on his website to meet what the polls tell him about conservative eastern NC GOP voters and what they want to hear. As a PR guy, he can talk the talk, whatever talk it is he needs to talk to advance his ends.

      But it is Walter Jones who has the record of walking the walk, as one of the toughest budget hawks in Congress and one of the toughest immigration hawks in Congress. He is also a down the line conservative on social issues. Jones has a record of having the backbone to stand up to our surrender monkey leadership when they cave in to the Democrats.

      You have to ask yourself why so many DC beltway establishment figures and Wall Street figures are bankrolling Griffin and the attacks on Jones. How could Griffin possibly function as a conservative when he would owe his soul to the special interests? Talk is cheap, but the cost of buying an election is not. Guess whose interests someone like Griffin would look out for?

      And many of those bankrollers of Griffin are strong supporters of amnesty for illegal aliens, like the Ricketts family, whose PAC ”Ending Spending” is flooding the airwaves with ads in the race. Griffin’s ads say he ”would never support amnesty for illegals” but if not why is it that all of this money from strong supporters of amnesty are pouring in to bankroll his campaign? Laura Ingraham smoked Griffin out, and got him to admit he supports ”normalization” for the millions of illegals already in the country. That is just playing word games to use another word for a policy that is amnesty. But I guess that is the sort of thing you get from a slick PR dude. Heck, even Marco Rubio says with a straight face that the Gang of 8 bill is ”not amnesty”.

      Taylor Griffin is as DC beltway establishment as it gets. That is why he was parachuted in to this district that he had never lived in before to try to take Walter out. Taylor Griffin would be Boehner’s poodle.

      ”Not a working lobbyist”? Heck, he registered as a lobbyist, including for an Arab company that is now being investigated for fraud. But, yeah, he was mainly a PR guy, and you can split some hairs to try to distinguish PR work from lobbying, although the differences are actually not that significant. One of the other clients he worked for, an insurance group, wanted to keep premiums high for coastal insurance and Griffin worked to try to help them do it. You may want to split hairs as to whether he did it as a lobbyist or PR guy, but he did it none the less.

      Oh, and Griffin’s ads say his job at Treasury was ”tracking down money going to terrorists” but his lobbyist registration forms show that his actual job at Treasury was as a PR guy. But then, puffing oneself up is also something PR guys are good at. He claims to have ”worked for Senator Jesse Helms” implying that he worked in Helms Senate office, but his actual job was as a PR guy for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And of course Senator Helms widow is openly supporting Congressman Jones.

      I would say that your organization’s record for vetting candidates just went into the crapper on this one.

    2. I would take issue with your assertion that your group is the largest tea party group in eastern NC. Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association has a larger membership, has been more actively involved state wide (our fight against Common Core for example), AND

      1. Stupid computers.

        CCTA has held voter forums and vetted all the candidates that would participate.

        BUT CCTA would never presume to endorse anyone. We educate and inform our members to make their own decisions. Our mission statement prohibits our endorsement of candidates, and I thought Crystal Coast considered themselves to be non-partisan as well. Apparently I was wrong.

    3. A national Tea Party group, Tea Party Nation, has just endorsed Walter Jones and had the following to say:

      ”This year, the mantra of the conservative movement seems to be to throw everyone out of office.

      There are a lot of incumbents who need to go. House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and the rest of the Republican Leadership top the list of those who need to go.

      There is someone who needs to stay in Washington.

      Who is it?

      It is Walter Jones from North Carolina’s Third Congressional District.

      Jones has been a great congressman. He has consistently voted against the big spending continuing resolutions that Congress has passed to avoid the responsibility of having a budget.

      Jones is 100% pro life. He has fought against Obamacare tooth and nail. He opposed the Paul Ryan budget. He voted against the pork laden farm bill, despite pressure from the GOP establishment. He voted to defund Obamacare and stood with Ted Cruz and Mike Lee when the government shut down.

      He voted against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which was a major assault on civil liberties and the Constitution. He has fought to block the Obama Regime from granting Amnesty by an administrative process.

      Jones was removed from his position on the Financial Services Committee in 2013 as punishment for not supporting John Boehner and surrendering enough.

      In short, this guy stands up for the Constitution, bucks the GOP establishment when they want to surrender and go left. What is not to like about him?

      One of Jones’ greatest points is that he has stood with American victims of terrorism and worked to allow them to sue terrorists and states like Iran that support terrorism.

      Jones has a 100% rating from National Right to Life and a 0% rating from NARAL, the political arm of the abortion industry. The National Education Association gives him an “F” which means he supports kids and not educational bureaucrats and union teachers.

      Freedom Works gives him a 95 and Eagle Forum gives him a 100.

      He is opposed by Taylor Griffin.

      Taylor Griffin has spent most of his adult life as a political staffer or working as a lobbyist. He may be a good guy but he presents no compelling case to replace Walter Jones.

      Jones has been a strong voice for liberty and for the Constitution. He deserves two more years in Congress and Tea Party Nation is proud to endorse him.”

  2. Are you insane? Walter Jones is one of the most conservative congressmen in America. Your Tea Party group would rather have a professional establishment Republican in his place?


  3. Any reason why you’re staying away from the “food fight” that’s developed in the GOP 6th Congressional District race? Candidates calling each other liars, threatening to take other candidates to court, attack ads filling up mailboxes. Jeff Phillips is a rock-solid conservative doing an incredible job cutting spending and taxes as a Guilford County Commissioner. He’s staying positive and discussing the issues–pretty refreshing!

    1. Interesting question. I’ve mentioned the 6th district race several times but it never seems to drum up any interest. It should, because there are several very good reliable conservatives (Phillips, Webb, and Causey), an establishment-backed Thom Tillis-type “conservative” who seems to be the primary attacker of other candidates, a well financed mystery candidate, and a honest-to-goodness liberal Republican. All seeking to replace the conservative-at-home, moderate-in-Washington Howard Coble. A very interesting race indeed.

    2. I would also like to hear Brant’s recent take on the 7th district fight between DC beltway establishment candidate and former K Street lobbyist David Rouzer and North Carolina GOP establishment guy Woody White. I am keeping my fingers crossed for White.

  4. This is bad news for Tillis. A lot of Walter Jones supporters will turn out for Brannon as well. A lot of social conservatives for Woody White.

    1. I was rather under the assumption that Tillis’ name is anathema to a lot of folks on the coast, anyway. So much so that the bad news is that he won’t have their support in November should he win the nomination.

  5. Let me see if I get this. The Tea Party group in Carteret, who shouldn’t be endorsing candidates regardless, chooses to support someone who hasn’t been living in NC in years, has NEVER lived in this District, spent all his time as a Washington gopher, and has NO qualifications for the US House of Representatives having held not even so much as a dog catchers elected position…and over an experienced Legislator who has served the citizens of this District faithfully and honorably for twenty years? I get it that twenty years is a long time, but you don’t replace someone unless you have an acceptable alternative, and there is no acceptable alternative currently running against Jones, Taylor’s ad buys are untruthful and derogatory and you have no idea what he will do if he wins because his whole campaign has been about what he claims Walter Jones did and not what he would do. We will be replacing him in two years if he wins!

  6. The McClatchy article linked says that the CCTP endorsed Griffin because they were upset that Jones votes against foreign aid. Really??? Taxed enough already, anyone? Can you show me that part in the Constitution where it says that the federal government has the power to force US citizens to pay money to send to another country? Jones has a stellar record and was named one of the top 25 hardest working in DC. Griffin says he may likely vote for Boehner for speaker again!

  7. It appears that some of our friends in Carteret County have been swayed by the slick forked tongue of Taylor Griffin.

    Instead of judging candidates on what they have actually DONE, they are buying into what Griffin says. And indeed, Griffin has the rhetoric down pat.

    Griffin has misconstrued and distorted Jones’ record, and used some DC blogs and magazines as sources to back his obvious lies. While Heritage Foundation and the John Birch Society (hardly left leaning groups) have consistently marked Jones very favorably as a true conservative, Griffin has spun some votes by Jones to back his rhetoric.

    Griffin has spent almost all of his adult life in DC and can’t wait to get back there to make some real money. It’s very sad to see some decent people be swayed by rhetoric and spin, while ignoring the facts. Indeed Jones needs to be replaced, but Taylor Griffin is not the person we need.

  8. Griffin never lived in this District, spent his adult life in DC, knows nothind about this District, the people who live here or the issues here, yet he comes here with a boatload of dollars from the Republican Lites in DC, rents a tempory residence here and thinks we will be fooled into trading a man who spent 20 years representing us for him. Why would we do that? How did the tea party in Carteret get fooled?

    1. The people in Carteret County listen with their ears instead of their eyes. They buy the rhetoric and ignore that facts.

  9. In NC 6th, Phillips is the clear, best choice with no question about his character and conservative credentials. Dark-horse Mark Walker is one of the few candidates that would ever make me vote for the Democrat. He has a checkered past including managing a used car lot before he become a “minister”. Being tall and well-financed (by out of the district buddies) does not make one qualified to go to Washington. Phillips is clearly the best choice.

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