RALEIGH – North Carolina’s third congressional district for U.S. House has been occupied by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) for quite a long time. In recent cycles that incumbency has been challenged, with Jones facing two primary contenders last May, but no candidates seriously threatened a win against the maverick Republican.
But Jones has indicated this will be his last term, which opens up the contest to a big field candidates. The Daily Haymaker, always prone to good scoops, is hearing that the former leader of the Civitas Institute Francis DeLuca is laying the ground work for a run there.
“DeLuca, since leaving Civitas, has stepped up his media game in the district significantly. He has a regular weekly appearance on at least one popular radio talk show in the district. DeLuca also devoted an inordinate time pre- and post-retirement from Civitas speaking to Tea Party and other activist groups within the Third District.
It’s our understanding that DeLuca has also discussed a run with a number of political heavy-hitters on the ground in the Third.”
DeLuca would be a notable entry into a race that is shaping up to be a real shootout. As the former leader of a conservative think tank, he should have the credentials, policy prescriptions, and principles to offer NC-03 voters a solid choice.
DH notes that there will be many to chose from, however.
“There are at least three sitting legislators — senator Harry Brown, Rep. Mike Speciale (and one other House member) — seriously contemplating runs for the seat. NCGOP vice-chairman Michele Nix is also reported to be seriously eyeing a run for the Third.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see Phil Law and Scott Dacey — the runners up for the seat in May — back in the 2020 mix. There may be others we haven’t IDed yet.”
Sen. Brown reportedly toyed with the idea of running against Jones in 2018, but thought better of it. Likely a prudent move considering Jones incumbent advantage, but 2020 is a different story altogether with a vacant seat.
Rep. Mike Speciale (R-Craven) is a rock solid conservative in the state house who consistently stands up for the principles of small government and loyalty to the constitution.
And Michelle Nix will have considerable inroads to local GOP infrastructure developed over her tenure as vice chair of the NCGOP, though she recently raised some eyebrows when she proclaimed that the N.C. Republican Party was not the ‘conservative party.’
2020 may seem far away; we haven’t even gotten to 2018 elections yet. In political terms though, the time is now for shaking the right hands and drawing up a strategy if you want to be on contention when Jones’ seat opens up. DeLuca is doing just that.
Who will end up in it when the music stops is anyone’s guess at this point.