The two Republicans vie to succeed the late Walter Jones
Two physicians, Joan Perry of Kinston and State Rep. Greg Murphy of Greenville, will face off in the July 9 Republican primary runoff to win the right to meet Democrat and former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas in the Sept. 10 special election for the seat representing North Carolina’s Third Congressional District.
The election, in the solidly Republican district, will determine who will replace the late Walter B. Jones, who served 12 terms as the district’s representative in Washington, D.C. before he died in February.
Perry and Murphy were the top two vote getters among 17 Republican rivals during the crowded April 30 primary election, with Murphy securing 22.5% of the vote and Perry trailing with 15.5% district-wide. In Dare County, however, Perry was the favorite by a narrow margin, getting 12.5% of the vote, compared with Murphy at 11.4%.
Neither of the candidates’ campaigns responded to requests for an interview. However, the Sentinel compiled information about Perry and Murphy based on campaign websites and other sources.
Perry, who touts herself as a pro-life pediatrician and political outsider, has been a practicing pediatrician for more than 30 years, also serving as the physician for the Lenoir Health Department High Risk Pediatric Clinic for more than 10 years. She graduated from the UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill and has served on the UNC Board of Governors, as well as former State Gov. Pat McCrory’s Health and Human Services transition team.
Perry, who lives in Kinston, is married to Jimbo Perry and together they have five children. Asserting that she has devoted her life to her Christian faith, she and her husband helped to start a local Christian children’s camp and to launch their church, Grace Fellowship Church.
Murphy is a urologist and surgeon in Greenville and operates his own private practice with more than 50 employees. Married to Wendy Murphy, the two have three children. He is the former Chief of Staff of Vidant Medical Center in Greenville and is also currently a faculty member of the ECU School of Medicine.
Murphy is serving his second term as State Representative for the Ninth District. He was appointed in 2015 to fill the vacated seat of Brian Brown, who resigned before his term expired. According to his campaign website, while in office Murphy “has championed the fight against the opioid epidemic, worked on health care reform and been a consistent conservative voice in Raleigh, protecting taxpayer dollars while making sure vital services are met.”
The two candidates don’t appear to differ much when it comes to their stances on issues such as abortion, Second Amendment rights and limited government.
Murphy’s website states that he is “solidly pro-life,” as well as a proponent of lower taxes and less government, and supports a Balanced Budget Amendment. He also asserts that he supports President Trump, stating on his website that the Trump agenda “is the people’s agenda, especially Eastern North Carolina that voted so overwhelmingly in his favor.”
Speaking on Second Amendment rights, Dr. Murphy’s website reads: “Reactionary responses to crimes involving guns overlook the basic facts that more restrictive gun laws will have little effect on crime because by nature, criminals do not follow the law.”
He also states that healthcare reform should “put the decision-making process of doctor choice and treatment options in the hands of the citizens.”
Perry’s campaign website also promotes her as a pro-life advocate, as well as supporter of limited government and controlled spending. She supports a Balanced Budget Amendment, as well as backs term limits. Her website states that she believes healthcare reform should be accomplished through a free market approach that also includes tort reform.
Perry supports President Trump’s efforts to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border and has called for the country to “stop the crisis of illegal immigration.” Referring to gun rights, her website states, “A mother of five sons who are all hunters and a hunter herself, Dr. Perry is committed to protecting the Second Amendment.”
Among Perry’s most notable supporters is the late U.S. Representative’s wife, Joe Ann Jones. According to various media reports, Jones debunked the claim by Dr. Murphy’s campaign made late last month that her husband had planned to endorse him in the 2020 election. And she has expressed support for Perry.
“Dr. Joan Perry shares the same Christian beliefs and staunch conservative values as my husband Walter, who never endorsed anyone for the 3rd Congressional District,” Jones said in a statement that appears on Perry’s campaign website.
Others who have endorsed Perry include former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, the Eastern N.C. Tea Party, Wyoming’s Congresswoman Liz Cheney, former N.C. GOP Chairman Bill Cobey and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, of Iowa.
As for his endorsements, media outlets have reported that Murphy has been backed by the National Women For Trump organization, N.C. Eleventh District Congressman Mark Meadows, the House Freedom Caucus and the National Rifle Association.