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 JonesHillary Clinton brings up 'Freedom Fries' to mock 'cancel culture' Georgia officials open inquiry into Trump efforts to overturn election results Supreme Court declines to hear case challenging unlimited super PAC fundraising 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.
The 3rd District has traditionally been friendly territory for Republicans. Not only did Jones represent the district for decades, but President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol 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 MeadowsAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE (R-N.C.) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee Watchdog group seeks ethics probe over McCarthy's Jan. 6 comments 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.