North Carolina state Rep. Greg Murphy will win the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District special election, CNN projects, setting up a general election fight with Democratic nominee Allen Thomas this fall.
Murphy, who serves in the state Legislature and is a urologic surgeon, led his primary challenger, first-time candidate Joan Perry, throughout the night, capturing just shy of 60% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting Tuesday.
The runoff election started in April, when no Republican candidate surpassed 30% of the vote in the primary, a requirement to avoid a runoff. Murphy had won 22.54% of the Republican vote, according to the state board of elections.
Murphy’s win positions him opposite the Democratic nominee in a largely Republican-leaning district heading into the September 10 general election. Thomas, a former mayor of Greenville, North Carolina, captured the Democratic primary with 50.02% of the vote in April, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections website. Two other candidates will also be on the ballot.
The special election for the North Carolina seat was prompted earlier this year after Republican Rep. Walter Jones — who had represented the district since 1995 — died at age 76.
President Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. congratulated Murphy on Twitter Tuesday night, labeling him a “strong #MAGA conservative.”
“Congratulations to @DrGregMurphy1 on winning the Republican nomination in #NC03! Dr. Murphy is a strong #MAGA conservative in the mold of my friend @MarkMeadows,” he said. “Look forward to heading down to NC to hit the trail with you before the General Election in September!”
Vice President Mike Pence also congratulated Murphy on Tuesday, celebrating him as “a champion for the President.”