Super PAC airs ads attacking Jones; he responds with Helms endorsement

Posted by Caitlin Owens and John Frank on March 24, 2014 

A flurry of ads in the Republican primary for the 3rd District is seeking to define incumbent U.S. Rep. Walter Jones.

Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC led by billionaire Joe Ricketts and backed by conservative donor Sheldon Adelson, is airing a new TV ad that condemns Jones’ voting records and accuses him of being too liberal. It’s the same line of attack that Republican challenger Taylor Griffin has employed in his campaign to unseat the 10-term incumbent. (See ad below.)

“When he first went to Congress he shared our North Carolina values, but now after almost 20 years in Washington he’s forgotten us,” the ad says, pointing to his votes on taxes, spending and the national debt. The kicker: “Walter Jones: He may have forgotten North Carolina values, but we won’t forget how he’s voted. Maybe it’s time he came home.”

The super PAC is the second outside group getting involved in the GOP primary. Americans for Prosperity thanked Jones for his position on the Affordable Care Act in a recent radio ad in the district.

The Ending Spending Action Fund put just $78,000 behind the 30-second spot, which began airing Friday in the Greenville, Wilmington and Norfolk media markets, meaning its reach to viewers is limited. Ricketts’ is the founder of TD Ameritrade and his family owns the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Adelson is a billionaire casino owner who pumped more than $100 million into the 2012 presidential campaign to support Newt Gingrich and then Mitt Romney.

Griffin, a former aide to President George W. Bush, released his own radio ad Friday linking Jones to President Barack Obama. It highlighted Roll Call statistics showing Jones voted in support of Obama more often than any other Republican in the House, at 30.8 percent of the time.

But with the super PAC entry, Griffin’s campaign replaced the spot. Doug Raymond, Griffin’s campaign manager, said the replacement happened because they had not known about the ad by the Ending Spending Action Fund and “it didn’t make sense to double up.” The new ad is more biographical in nature, mentions Griffin’s position on government growth and spending, the second amendment, veterans and the federal health care law. It does not mention Jones.

Jones is fighting back with his own radio ad featuring the endorsement of Dot Helms, the wife of former Sen. Jesse Helms. ( Hear the ad here.)

The ad highlights Jones’ recent recognition as the most conservative member of the North Carolina congressional delegation in 2013, determined by the tea party organization FreedomWorks.

“Just like Jesse, Walter has never been afraid to say no to the wasteful big spenders in both parties,” Helms says ad. “He’s a fighter for our values and the constitution.”

Without naming Griffin, Helms adds: “Unlike some, Walter is not a fancy Washington insider. He is a fighter for our values and the Constitution.”

Jones’ campaign would not disclose how much it spent to air the ad or where it is appearing, saying only it would run throughout eastern North Carolina until the primary. Without that information, it’s difficult to tell whether it will effectively counter the anti-Jones ads.

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