GOP Rep. Walter “Freedom Fries” Jones Dies At Age 76

The Raleigh News & Observer reports:

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., an Eastern North Carolina congressman who made it his mission to atone for his vote sending U.S. troops into Iraq in the early 2000s, died Sunday on his 76th birthday. Jones, like his father, served his district for nearly a quarter-century. His death was confirmed by his office.

Jones, a Republican, was first elected to the House in 1994 and won 12 more terms, including in 2018 when he ran unopposed in the general election. He served five terms in the North Carolina House as a Democrat before switching parties and winning a seat in Congress during a Republican wave election.

Roll Call reports:

Jones died in Greenville, N.C., according to a statement from his office. He had been absent from the Capitol with an undisclosed illness since September. He moved into hospice on Jan. 26 after suffering a broken hip. Deeply critical of the Bush administration, Jones once said that former Vice President Dick Cheney belonged in hell.

His Christian conservatism aligned him with the Republican Party in opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Jones pushed to censor children’s books depicting non-heterosexual couples and argued that conservatives are marginalized on college campuses.

Jones voted against every LGBT-related issue before the House, earning him a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign. A special election will be held to fill his seat.