Walter Jones wins tough primary for NC House seat
© Greg Nash
 
The Associated Press called the race for Jones at about 8:45 p.m. EDT.
 
The 11-term incumbent faced what was considered to be his toughest primary challenge to date amid congressional redistricting in his state.
 
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Jones has established a maverick reputation over the course of his congressional tenure, which Griffin tried to use against him as a sign of conservative impurity.
 
Griffin seized on Jones’s votes in recent years against the annual defense authorization bill to appeal to a district that includes military bases like Camp Lejeune. 
 
Jones has said he voted against the defense policy bill in the past over objections to what he considered wasteful spending.
 
But ahead of the primary, Jones voted in favor of this year’s defense authorization last month.
 
Jones has touted bucking his party on federal spending, national security, financial regulation and campaign finance reform to show he isn’t controlled by GOP leaders. 
 
The incumbent had a significant edge with his name recognition, even in the newly redrawn district. 
 
Jones first ran for the House in 1992 as a Democrat to succeed his father, Walter Jones Sr., but lost. He switched parties two years later to run for the House again and won.
 
Jones defeated Griffin two years ago by 6 percentage points in a House primary.
 
North Carolina’s congressional districts were redrawn following a court order directing the state legislature to reestablish boundaries so black populations would be adequately represented. 
 
Consequently, House primary elections were pushed back to June 7 so that candidates could adjust to the new districts. North Carolina’s presidential and Senate primaries took place as previously scheduled on March 15.
 
The district is expected to remain in GOP control in the November general election.