Third Congressional District election winner Greg Murphy said his victory shows eastern North Carolina is solidly conservative heading into the 2020 election season.
Murphy, a Greenville surgical urologist and Republican state House representative, received 70,142 votes to his Democratic opponent Allen Thomas’ 42,570 votes based on the unofficial results of Tuesday’s special election to fill the seat held 12 terms by the late Walter B. Jones Jr.
“I want to say to the people of the whole 3rd District that I didn’t get every vote today,” Murphy said. “It was close. I really, really want to reach out and tell them that I am the representative of every single individual in the 3rd District.
“It is my pledge to represent each one of you with honesty, with energy, with transparency, with integrity,” he said.
Murphy won 16 of the 17 counties in the 3rd Congressional District, which extends from Onslow County to the Virginia state line and from the coast to Pitt County.
In Pitt County, where both men live, Murphy won 21 of the 23 precincts in the district. Thomas, Greenville’s former mayor, won Ayden B and Greenville No. 9.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to be part of this process as we come to the culmination tonight,” Thomas said.
Within 15 minutes of The Associated Press declaring Murphy the winner, President Donald Trump phoned to congratulate the congressman-elect. Murphy was overheard chuckling several times at the president’s comments. Murphy told the president he has been very humbled by the process, calling it surreal.
“I am here to support you,” Murphy said. “Thank you Mr. President.”
When Murphy spoke to his supporters, he said the president was very excited by the results.
“This is a solid Republican place with people with conservative values and we celebrate those. The president celebrates them also,” Murphy said. “I look forward to serving with him and continuing to do the great things that we’ve been able to accomplish in the Republican Party with him as a leader.”
The canvass date the race is Sept. 20. Once the results are finalized by the State Elections Board, Murphy said he likely will be sworn in to Congress in three days.
Once Murphy resigns his state House seat, the Pitt County Republican Party executive committee will convene to select his replacement, local party Chairman Gary Weaver said.
Nine of the executive committee’s 13 members live in House District 9, so they will interview applicants for the seat, Weaver said. Once a nominee is selected, the individual’s name will be referred to the state Republican Party, which will submit it to Governor Roy Cooper, Weaver said. State law requires Cooper to appoint the GOP nominee.
Weaver said the local party already has received applications from six applicants. He declined to release their names.
Murphy said that along with representing the people of the 3rd Congressional District, he will work to protect and preserve the values of the nation’s Founding Fathers.
“No, we don’t have a perfect country, we surely don’t have a perfect medical system but we have the best one on earth,” Murphy said. “We worked so hard over the last year. I want to thank our congressman Walter Jones who gave his life in service to this district. I hope to follow in his footsteps and to make new footsteps.
“Because we are a new district and we have new energy now, new ideas now and new people to represent it,” he said.
Contact Ginger Livingston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9570.