Photo: Eric Rouse for Congress/YouTube

On February 10th, Republican Rep. Walter Jones died at the age of 76, after holding office in North Carolina’s 3rd district for nearly 25 years. Jones was best known for coining the term “freedom fries” in the ‘00s, but he was a remarkably moderate Republican who eventually turned against the Iraq war. Jones voted with President Trump only 49.3 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Now, local politicians are lining up to replace Jones in a special election primary. An incredible 17 Republicans and six Democrats have signed up to run in the primary for the Eastern North Carolina district, which will take place on April 30th.

One of these candidates, Eric Rouse, a Lenoir county commissioner, has now released an ad that will soon be airing on television, and hooooo boy is it something.

In the ad, Rouse comes out as strongly aligned with Trump.

“When Trump took office, he flipped the switch. Now our economy is booming with more jobs,” Rouse says in the ad. “To keep it going, Trump needs allies to shoot down the socialist radical agenda.”

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As he says this, Rouse whips out a rifle and begins literally shooting down clays with phrases like “govt run health care” and “Green New Deal” printed on them.

Most other Republican candidates in the race are similarly pro-Trump.

“We cannot allow radical Democratic officials to nullify the vote of the people through phony impeachment charges. If this is to become President Trump’s Alamo then I stand with him to the very end—win or lose,” Republican Phil Law, who ran against Jones in the 2016 and 2018 primaries, said in a statement, according to The News & Observer.

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“I will support the Trump agenda because it is the people’s agenda, especially Eastern North Carolina that voted so overwhelming in his favor,” another candidate, NC House member Greg Murphy, wrote on his campaign website.

North Carolina currently has two house seats up for grabs. The other is in the 9th District, where a voter fraud scandal dragged out last year’s primary race for months. At the end of February, the Republican candidate Mark Harris, who has been accused of being aware that a political operative he hired was tampering with absentee ballots, finally called for a new election, and the Board of Elections obliged.

Harris subsequently announced, wisely, that he wouldn’t be running. He also blamed a recent infection that caused two strokes for inaccuracies in his testimony about the scandal. Ok then.

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The 9th district’s new primaries will be held on May 14th, and the general election is expected to be held on September 10th.

North Carolina, please chill the hell out.