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  From 'freedom fries' to a political fight
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Last EditedRP  Aug 22, 2007 01:28pm
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MediaNewspaper - USA Today
News DateWednesday, August 22, 2007 04:30:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionRep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., is a household name in this military-friendly district represented in Congress by his family — first by his late father, a Democrat, and now by him — for most of the last 40 years. Jones' folksy demeanor, commitment to constituent service and deeply Christian values made him virtually unbeatable since he won election to Congress in 1994.

Until two years ago, Jones was probably best known nationally for championing "freedom fries" to replace "French fries" in the House cafeteria — a hit with the GOP's right-wing base.

But after co-sponsoring a measure with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, in June 2005 calling for a time-certain troop withdrawal from Iraq, Jones began taking heat from many of those same supporters.

His U-turn on war policy attracted some unusual publicity for a press-shy conservative: an appearance on ABC News with Kucinich, long considered an anti-war bogeyman by the right, and a cover story in the liberal Mother Jones magazine.

Now, the consequences look more threatening. For the first time in more than a decade, Jones faces a serious primary challenger in Onslow County Commissioner Joe McLaughlin, a former Army Ranger, and their race will test how opposition to the Iraq war plays out in conservative and pro-military America.
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