By Jim EllisJuly 11, 2019 — North Carolina state Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville) scored an easy 60-40 percent victory over Dr. Joan Perry in the special Republican congressional run-off Tuesday night, thus becoming the party nominee in a special general election to succeed the late Congressman Walter Jones, Jr. (R-Farmville) who passed away in February.
The run-off campaign was particularly low key. Neither candidate raised nor spent a huge amount money throughout the entire nomination process. Rep. Murphy will have expended approximately $600,000, while Dr. Perry only reached the $400,000 mark. Both, however, saw independent expenditures conducted on their behalf.
Originally, it appeared the conservative groups would be lining up behind Dr. Perry, and particularly pro-life groups, but when House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-Skyland/Asheville) publicly endorsed Rep. Murphy the ideological lines appeared to break down.
Murphy carried 12 of the district’s 17 counties, and scored big in his home county of Pitt, with an 82-18 percent victory margin that accounted for more than half of his district-wide 6,972 vote win from a low turnout of 35,916 Republican run-off ballot casters.
Dr. Perry rebounded in her own home county of Lenoir, registering 75 percent of the vote there and cutting Murphy’s district vote margin by 1,482 votes. Though Murphy won 70 percent of the district’s counties, several were by very close margins: 4, 26, 61, 93, 127, and 227 votes.
Now, we move to the Sept. 10 special general election. Back in the April 30 primary, former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas won the Democratic primary outright and automatically advanced into the general election. Now he and Rep. Murphy will battle for the seat in a campaign that should favor the new Republican nominee.