Under the Dome

Trump and Pelosi are at center stage in a GOP primary in Eastern North Carolina

Screenshot from a Scott Dacey ad against Rep. Walter Jones
Screenshot from a Scott Dacey ad against Rep. Walter Jones

Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi have quickly emerged as key factors in the Republican primary for Congress in North Carolina’s 3rd District.

Rep. Walter Jones, the longtime incumbent, faces a challenge from Craven County commissioner and lobbyist Scott Dacey, who is launching a $150,000 television ad campaign Friday against Jones in the Eastern North Carolina district.

In Dacey’s 30-second television ad, Pelosi — the San Francisco Democrat and former speaker of the House who is a consistent target for Republicans — is mentioned four times and images of Pelosi and Jones appear on-screen at the same time. Jones voted with Pelosi and against Trump’s tax cuts, the ad says.

“It’s time President Trump had a congressman he can count on. Scott Dacey, a true Trump conservative,” the Dacey ad says.

Jones voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — the signature legislative accomplishment of the Trump administration’s first 13 months — because the $1.5 trillion package would add to the national debt, he said. Jones consistently votes against budget bills that add to the debt.

Dacey’s TV ad comes after both campaigns have been on the radio with two ads apiece. Jones’ ads target Dacey’s claim that he is a Trump loyalist, saying that Dacey has contributed more than $170,000 in campaign donations to many establishment candidates but he has “never given a dime to Trump.”

“Lobbyist Scott Dacey isn’t on the Trump train. He just jumped on the bandwagon,” says one radio ad.

Dacey’s radio ads hit Jones’ attendance record, claiming he has missed more votes than 90 percent of his colleagues, and his votes against bills containing Hurricane Matthew relief funding and the Trump tax cuts.

“He doesn’t vote the way you’d vote when he bothers to vote at all,” one Dacey radio ad says.

Dacey held a fundraising advantage over Jones in 2017. Dacey raised nearly $250,000 and made a loan of $15,000 to the campaign. At the end of the year, he had more than $224,000 cash on hand. Jones had $100,000 cash on hand at the end of the year, half of what he raised in 2017, according to federal elections data.

Republican Phil Law, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq, has also filed for the 3rd District. No Democratic candidate has filed with the state.

Brian Murphy: 202-383-6089, @MurphinDC