WASHINGTON — An incumbent Republican North Carolina congressman backed by J Street defeated a primary challenger who had been backed by pro-Israel conservatives.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) beat back a challenge by Taylor Griffin, a former George W. Bush administration official, in the primary Tuesday.
J Street, a liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, backed Jones in part because he opposes new sanctions on Iran while nuclear talks are underway, as J Street does.
Jones is one of only a handful of Republicans who have accepted J Street’s endorsement since it established a political action committee in 2008.
Jones’s non-interventionist foreign policy led pro-Israel groups such as the Emergency Committee for Israel and the Republican Jewish Coalition to back Griffin.
The Emergency Committee for Israel’s PAC spent over $300,000 on the campaign, including money on a TV ad. A J Street spokeswoman said its PAC spent just over $10,000.
Jones’s foreign policy positions stem in part from his association with libertarians; he is close to former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) who ran several presidential campaigns based on libertarian principles. On social and fiscal issues, Jones is a conservative.