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GOP state rep, supporter of Medicaid expansion wins 3rd congressional district primary

Greg Murphy

The turnout was very small (just 11.5%), but the margin was decisive in yesterday’s Republican primary runoff in the race to fill the late Congressman Walter Jones’ 3rd District seat. With all precincts reporting, State Rep. Greg Murphy defeated challenger Joan Perry 59.71% to 40.29%. Murphy had also won the initial primary in a crowded field, but failed to gain the requisite votes to avoid a runoff. This is from a story in the Greenville Daily Reflector:

Murphy won 12 of the 17 counties in the district, which extends from the Virginia border to Onslow County. He received 21,444 votes to his opponent Joan Perry’s 14,472 votes….

There is one more hurdle to overcome, Murphy said, the Sept. 10 special election where he will face Democrat Allen Thomas, former mayor of Greenville, along with candidates from the Libertarian and Constitution parties.

Though the district is rated solidly Republican, Allen Thomas is widely seen as a formidable challenger who has attracted support from Democrats at the national level.

Interestingly, Murphy, a physician, won the endorsement of the far right Congressional Freedom Caucus and its leader, Congressman Mark Meadows, despite his record of having supported a version of Medicaid expansion as a Raleigh lawmaker. In April, Murphy spoke at a press conference at which he and fellow GOP lawmakers touted the bill that was advanced yesterday by the House. At the time, Murphy explained his support for the bill by saying:

“I’m not only a legislator but I still practice medicine. So I see on a daily basis individuals who are caught in that coverage gap – people who put off coming to see physicians, people who put off coming to our emergency department, with life-threatening conditions, often-times with cancer. Cancer doesn’t care if you have an insurance card or not.”

Perry attacked Murphy repeatedly for his stance on the issue, but to no avail. It will be interesting, however, to see if Murphy sticks to such a thoughtful stance if he is elected to Congress and finds himself serving under Meadows.

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