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Decision 2024 - Report says Jones for Congress w-Announcement

Laurens state representative announced he is running for the seat Jeff Duncan is vacating at an event in Anderson


Rep. Stewart Jones, original member of hardline Freedom Caucus, will run for SC 3rd District

JANUARY 23, 2024 6:38 PM

COLUMBIA — Rep. Stewart Jones, of Laurens, will run for South Carolina’s 3rd District after long-serving Congressman Jeff Duncan announced last week he would not seek an eighth term.

“I’m going to run on the same conservative principles we’ve worked to advance in the Statehouse,” Jones, 40, told the SC Daily Gazette on Tuesday.

Jones is an original member of the uber-conservative House Freedom Caucus, which has been increasingly critical of GOP leaders in the Statehouse since its launch in April 2022.

Asked about his accomplishments, Jones pointed to legislation he sponsored condemning federal vaccine mandates enacted by the Biden Administration amid the COVID-19 pandemic. His bill, which banned public employers in South Carolina from mandating vaccines, was signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster days after the caucus launched.

He’s also chief sponsor of a bill banning gender-transitioning surgery and hormone treatments for transgender youth. His bill, pre-filed in December 2022, went nowhere. But it’s similar to legislation that was sponsored by House GOP leaders a year later and quickly pushed through the chamber last week.

And in 2021, it was Jones’ amendment that led to a flurry of lawsuits over mask mandates in public schools.

During floor debate on the state budget in June 2021, Jones proposed inserting a clause prohibiting districts from requiring students or employees to wear a mask on school property. It passed with little debate, as the pandemic seemed to be subsiding. And it largely went unnoticed until later that summer, after COVID rates increased and the federal government advised making masks mandatory for the new school year. Some school districts ignored the budget ban, prompting Attorney General Alan Wilson to sue the districts.

The state Supreme Court refused to block the Legislature’s ban, even as justices encouraged a legal workaround. A federal judge, however, made the ban moot.

Still, Jones’ anti-mask-mandate remains state law. Technically, budget directives are temporary, one-year laws. But, as with the mandate against mask mandates, they tend to get carried over from year to year.

Jones, who was first elected to the Statehouse during a 2019 special election, said if he’s elected to Congress, he would push for crackdowns on those who attempt to illegally cross borders into the U.S. and to cut federal debt.

Jones said he received a slew of calls from supporters asking him to run for the congressional district that spans 11 counties along South Carolina’s northern border with Georgia, from Edgefield to Oconee, including his home county of Laurens.

On Saturday, state Sen. Richard Cash gave Jones his blessing at an event at Christ Church in Anderson.

Cash, one of the Statehouse’s most staunch abortion foes, had been weighing his own run for the seat amid allegations of infidelity from Duncan’s wife made last fall in court filings.

“I felt called to protect the integrity of faith and family values. This effort was about remaining committed to those values and accountability for those who campaign as faith family legislators,” Cash told the room full of supporters.

But then the Anderson County Republican pivoted.

“Stewart Jones dared to stand and support my challenge to Jeff Duncan. I believe challenging Jeff Duncan was my calling, and now the open seat is his calling.” Cash said. “I believe Stewart has the courage and commitment to conservative principles that we need in Washington, to withstand the corrupting pressures of the swamp in DC and effectively represent the constituents of our district.”

Jones is the second member of the House Freedom Caucus to announce a run for Congress this year.

Caucus Chairman Adam Morgan, R-Taylors, announced in November that he will challenge U.S. Rep. William Timmons for the 4th District representing Greenville and Spartanburg counties.


Jessica Holdman writes about the economy, workforce and higher education. Before joining the SC Daily Gazette, she was a business reporter for The Post and Courier.

Facebook Announcement today (Jan. 29):

Rep. Stewart Jones 

Announcement, 5h  · 

I’m running for Congress!

South Carolina’s Third Congressional District needs an America First fighter in Congress who will stand shoulder to shoulder with strong conservatives and President Trump to stop the Democrats’ disastrous agenda. 

In Congress, I will fight for the people. We must rein in the Swamp that dictates too many parts of our lives. It starts with securing the border, insisting on balanced budgets, reducing wasteful spending, and unleashing Americans to live up to their God-given potential.

I have a proven record of taking on Joe Biden’s administration and winning. In the South Carolina General Assembly, I worked constructively with all legislators to defeat Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate. We also worked hard to rein in wasteful spending, enshrine 2nd Amendment protections, and defend every unborn life. I’ll do the same in Congress.

We must bring honor back to Washington. Woke Democrats, weak Republicans, and their enablers continue to make a mockery of conservative values. Enough is enough.

I will faithfully serve CD-3 and defend freedom, so help me God. I humbly ask for your support in the June 11th Republican Primary.

Please consider contributing to my campaign today:

Announcement printed by Fox Carolina adds some information here.