Under the Dome

AFP wades into North Carolina congressional primary fight

A national tea party organization is injecting itself into a Republican Party primary to help incumbent Congressman Walter Jones.

Americans for Prosperity is airing radio advertisements that sound like a full-throated endorsement of the contested Republican, who is facing a primary challenge from Taylor Griffin, a former aide to President George W. Bush.

The political nonprofit cannot endorse a candidate, but the minute-long radio spot thanks him for pushing back against the federal health care law and representing his district. “It seems like Washington just ignores us,” it says, “... but not our congressman Walter Jones. He listens to us.”

The radio ads are airing on Greenville and New Bern stations, the same markets in which Griffin has aired spots that pound the 10-term lawmaker for not being conservative enough.

Griffin’s campaign manager Doug Raymond said the move is surprising and highlighted Jones mediocre rating from the organization.

Jones has a 69 percent lifetime rating from AFP, well below some of his Republican colleagues in North Carolina, and 80 percent current score. The organization says it is airing ads across the nation thanks members and attacking others, but this is the first in the state to pick sides in a primary race.