Murphy defeats Joan Perry, who receive significant support from groups pushing to elect more Republican women
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com
GREENVILLE, North Carolina (CFP) — In a setback for the cause of adding to the thin ranks of Republican women in the U.S. House, Republicans in North Carolina’s 3rd District have chosen State Rep. Greg Murphy as their nominee in a special election for one of two vacant seats in the state’s delegation.
Murphy, a urologist from Greenville, won the July 9 runoff with 60 percent to defeat Joan Perry, a pediatrician from Kinston, who took 40 percent.
Perry, a political newcomer, had received significant financial support from outside groups pushing to elect more Republican women to the House. Her loss will leave the number of GOP women at 13, the party’s lowest ebb in female membership in the last 25 years.
Murphy will be a heavy favorite in the September 10 special election against the Democratic nominee, former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, in the Republican-leaning district, which takes in 17 mostly rural counties along the state’s Atlantic coast.
President Donald Trump carried the district by 24 points in 2016.
The seat has been vacant since U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, who held it for 24 years, died in February.
In the first round of voting in April, which drew 17 Republican candidates, Murphy took 23 percent to 15 percent for Perry. A runoff was required because neither candidate met the 30 percent threshold to win outright.
During the runoff, the contest between Perry and Murphy became a proxy war pitting advocates for electing more Republican women to the House, who supported her, against ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus members, who campaigned for him.
Winning for Woman, a PAC that supports election of female Republican candidates, spent $900,000 in the race on Perry’s behalf. The Susan B. Anthony List, which supports pro-life women, added another $350,000.
Currently, the number of Republican women serving in the House, 13, is dwarfed by the number of Democrats, 89.
Perry was trying to join the tiny club of four Southern Republican women who serve in the House — Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, Martha Roby of Alabama, Kay Granger of Texas, and Carol Miller of West Virginia, the lone GOP female newcomer elected in 2018.
In addition to the race in the 3rd District, voters in the state’s 9th District will also vote September 10 to fill a seat that has been vacant since the State Board of Elections ordered a redo of last November’s election amid allegations of absentee ballot fraud.
In that district, which runs from the Charlotte suburbs east along the South Carolina line toward Fayetteville, Republican State Senator Dan Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready, who narrowly lost in the district in November.