Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) died on Sunday. He had served in Congress since 1995.
Many will remember him as being a principled conservative who was nevertheless willing to work across the aisle, and for his commitment to America’s service men and women. Fellow Congressman Mark Meadows called Jones a “beloved colleague and friend who had a profound impact on all through his graciousness, character, and committed Christian faith.”
The loss of Jones means that the people of two of North Carolina’s congressional districts (the 3rd and the 9th) now lack representation.
Under North Carolina law, Jones’ seat will be filled through a special election. Governor Roy Cooper will set dates for both a general election and a primary. The General Assembly may have to modify the Voter ID enabling legislation it passed last December to exclude the primary since it is unlikely that local boards will be ready to implement the law this spring. Another consideration is that, while North Carolina law stipulates an absentee voting period of at least 30 days, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act requires an absentee voting period of at least 45 days for military and overseas voters.
The 3rd District is considered to be safely Republican; Jones regularly won by more than 30 percentage points. That means we can expect an active Republican primary for this special election.