Greg Murphy wins GOP primary runoff for North Carolina House seat

Greg Murphy edged out Joan Perry in the Republican primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District on Tuesday, securing his spot in the special election to replace the late Rep. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesExperts warn Georgia’s new electronic voting machines vulnerable to potential intrusions, malfunctions Georgia restores 22,000 voter registrations after purge Stacey Abrams group files emergency motion to stop Georgia voting roll purge MORE (R-N.C.). 

With 56 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press called the race for Murphy, who carried more than 63 percent of the vote to Perry’s more than 36 percent.

Murphy’s win means that he will face off against Democrat Allen Thomas, Libertarian Tim Harris and Constitution Party candidate Greg Holt in a special election on Sept. 10. Whoever wins that contest will replace Jones, who died in February after representing North Carolina’s 3rd District in the House for more than 20 years.

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The 3rd District has traditionally been friendly territory for Republicans. Not only did Jones represent the district for decades, but President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin: White House seriously considering second round of stimulus checks Trump shrugs off apology from top US general over St. John’s photo-op The West Point Class of 2020 stands ready to serve this nation MORE carried it in 2016 by more than 20 points. 

Murphy and Perry emerged as the two top vote-getters in a crowded Republican field when the initial primary was held in April. Neither candidate, however, managed to secure the 30 percent necessary to win the nomination, sending the two contenders to a runoff. 

Murphy’s victory in the runoff is a letdown for some Republicans who have grown increasingly concerned with the shrinking number of women in their House conference.

Following the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats picked up some 40 seats in the House, the number of Republican women in the lower chamber dropped from 23 to 13. By comparison, 89 Democratic members are women.

Perry, a pediatrician, won the support of all 13 women in the House Republican Conference.

Meanwhile, Murphy, a state representative and urological surgeon, was backed by prominent male conservatives, including Reps. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTim Scott to introduce GOP police reform bill next week House GOP delays police reform bill White House says Trump may issue executive order on police reform MORE (R-N.C.) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHouse Republicans hopeful about bipartisan path forward on police reform legislation Tim Scott to introduce GOP police reform bill next week Floyd’s brother urges Congress to take action MORE (R-Ohio), two founders of the House Freedom Caucus who gravitated toward Murphy after he vowed to join the group if elected. 

The runoff campaign attracted more than $1.3 million in outside spending, including from the House Freedom Action Fund, a PAC affiliated with the Freedom Caucus, which dropped $236,000 opposing Perry in the contest.

Another group, the Winning For Women Action Fund, which backs female Republican candidates, spent more than $680,000 supporting Perry and opposing Murphy in the runoff.

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