BREAKING NEWS: Nix files paperwork to explore run for Walter B. Jones seat

BREAKING NEWS: Nix files paperwork to explore run for Walter B. Jones seat

Kinston’s Michele Nix, shown here speaking at a Donald Trump campaign stop in 2016, has filed paperwork to potentially run for the late Walter B. Jones seat in the U.S. House. Photo from Michele Nix Twitter account

A Kinston Republican has filed paperwork to potentially run for the seat of U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, who passed away on Feb. 10.

Michele Nix, the former chair of the Lenoir County Republican Party and current vice-chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, filed her statement of candidacy for the Third District seat with the Federal Election Commission on Friday.

Her principal campaign committee is named the Michele Nix Committee, Inc., and it is housed at 906 N. Queen St., Suite B, in Kinston.

In an email statement to Neuse News, Nix stated the filing was done to “explore a run for Congress.”

“Over the past four years, I have enjoyed traveling across North Carolina serving as Vice Chairwoman of the N.C. Republican Party,” Nix said in the statement. “While I cannot fill the void left by the late Congressman Walter Jones, I am humbled to explore the opportunity with the people of the Third District.” 

The move was done, she said, to enable her to “solicit funds and make expenditures necessary to explore running for the U.S. Congress.”

The statement concluded, “An official announcement will be forthcoming.”

Nix, an investment advisor, has served as the vice chair for the state GOP since June 2015 and was a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. On her website (michelenix.com), she said she has visited 90 of North Carolina’s 100 counties in her tenure as vice chair.

She is married to John Nix, an important figure in the successful fight to change Kinston’s municipal races from partisan to nonpartisan. He has been a candidate for Kinston City Council.

Jones, a Farmville native, was a 12-term representative in the U.S. House. After starting his career in the N.C. Legislature as a Democrat, he changed his party affiliation to the GOP before running for the U.S. House.

Since Jones passed away while in office, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper has to call a special election to replace the representative. There will be Republican, Democratic and Libertarian primaries before a potential runoff and then a general election for the seat.

“There are a number of state and federal laws that have to be complied with in order for us to set this calendar for filing periods, for periods of absentee balloting, for (a) primary, for a potential second primary, and then the general election," Gov. Roy Cooper said in a recent television interview about replacing Jones.

If Nix runs, she already has competition for the seat, and it comes from within the GOP ranks. Phil Law, whose FEC filing lists him as being from Swansboro although his campaign committee is based in Jacksonville, filed for the election on Jan. 21. He is a military veteran who served from 1999-2004 in the U.S. Marine Corps. He lost against Jones in GOP primaries in 2016 and 2018.

Another Republican who has announced for the seat is Phillip Shepard from Jacksonville; also a veteran, Shepard announced his candidacy at an event at the Beirut Memorial in Jacksonville Monday afternoon.

And in a report at NewBernPost.com (click here for the story), N.C. Rep. Michael Speciale (R-Craven) announced his candidacy in a press release.

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