State Rep. Bert Jones, a Rockingham Republican, announced Thursday he would seek the No. 2 post in the House, making it a three-way race.
Jones, 50, was first elected as an independent in 2010 and chose to caucus with Republicans. He ran for re-election this year as a Republican. He is competing for speaker pro tem against two veterans -- House GOP leader Paul "Skip" Stam and committee chairwoman Julia Howard -- but says his relative inexperience is an asset.
"We are blessed with a good combination of talented incoming members and experienced ones," he said. "I think the incoming class will have a substantial impact, and that is a good thing. We need fresh ideas at the table, and we are a better legislature when all members have a good opportunity to contribute."
Jones also noted in his announcement that other states with term limits have leaders with fewer years in the chamber. He said he would support whoever is elected. Republicans will gather Saturday and in December to pick leaders.