Republican Runoff Candidates Take Gloves Off in Eastern NC Special Congressional Bout

NC-03 – The special election Republican primary runoff election for North Carolina’s Third Congressional District is drawing near, just over a month away, and one can tell by the stepped up aggression of each campaign.

Candidates Greg Murphy and Joan Perry, both physicians vying to represent eastern North Carolina in Congress, sparred earlier this week at a debate in which Murphy announced he is suing over a misleading attack ad put out by a PAC supporting Perry. Now Perry has launched a website — MedicaidMurphy.com — attacking Murphy for past legislative proposals to expand government-subsidized low-income health insurance.

The anti-Murphy ad was put out by a PAC called Women for Women Action Fund, which takes quotes out of context to imply Murphy is anti-Trump. Murphy says, “It’s a flat out lie.

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Greenville paper, the Daily Reflector, was the source of the full quote.

“The Daily Reflector interviewed Murphy, a Greenville physician, in 2016 during his campaign for state House. It asked him and his opponent about the top of the ticket race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, which was receiving most of the attention from voters.

Murphy was asked how the Trump-Clinton race would affect the outcome of down-ballot elections. “I’ve had people say they don’t like Trump, I’ve had many, many say they don’t trust Hillary and I’ve had many people say it’s the worst top of the ticket  we’ve had in our history.” […]

The Women for Women Action Fund ad sets Murphy up by calling him a “typical politician” who voted for higher taxes and “billions in new debt,” the latter of which it attributes to the American Conservative Union and Civitas. 

The ad does not state what taxes and debts Murphy voted for […]

The voice over on the add then goes on to say, “With a record like that, no wonder Murphy said ‘President Trump is the worst top of our ticket in history.”

Look closely enough, and viewers can see text is quotations “Many people say” in an attempt to keep the ad closer to original quote. […]”

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Murphy asked Perry to denounce the clearly misleading ad at the June 4 debate, but she claimed to have not seen it and (rightly) pointed out that she had nothing to do with the PACs production of the ad. Supporters of Murphy are also quick to point out that the PAC — using identity politics as its main driver, a tactic most often employed by Democrats — supports and associates with milquetoast Republicans like Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), calling Perry’s conservative credentials into question.

Speaking of questioning one’s conservative credentials, Thursday the Perry campaign unveiled the website MedicaidMurphy.com, saying in a Facebook post that she wants to “spread the truth about his efforts to expand government-run healthcare in North Carolina.”

So the gloves have certainly come off in this runoff bout, but enduring attack ads and negative campaigning should not worry eastern North Carolina Republicans too much – that’s politics. No matter how much people say they want squeaky clean races, at some point a candidate and their supporters must go on offense to draw a clear distinction.

The thing that really is unfortunate for eastern North Carolina conservatives, though, is that each candidate’s line of attack against the other for not being conservative seems to ring true.

Perry has demonstrated moderate to unformed positions on key issues, formerly campaigned for Democrats against Republicans, and is benefiting from outside groups employing identity politics directly from the Democrats’ playbook to help get her elected.

Murphy has demonstrated a willingness to expand/create government health insurance programs, expand government controls over doctors, and voted for billions in bonds that put more debts at the feet of North Carolina taxpayers.

Yet, the venerable Freedomworks has endorsed Joan Perry, while the laudable House Freedom Caucus has endorse Greg Murphy. All these odd pairings are making the choice even harder for voters who may lean on third party conservative endorsements to gain their confidence.

As such, conservative voters in the Third District face a decision about which candidate might most thoroughly follow their conservative campaign talking points with conservative actions in congress. In addition to supporting President Trump’s agenda and opposing that of the Democrats, that means active support for a conservative agenda that advances the cause less government intrusion, more respect of taxpayers, and a return to the politics of individual rights rather than identity.

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