Murphy, Perry spar over ad campaigns


Third Congressional District candidate Dr. Joan Perry responds to a question during her debate with 3rd Congressional District candidate and state Rep. Greg Murphy, R-Pitt, at Pitt Community College in Winterville, Monday.


By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

WINTERVILLE — The candidates vying for the Republican nomination in the 3rd Congressional District runoff election accused each other during a debate Monday of being dishonest in their political advertising.

More than 100 people crowded a classroom at Pitt Community College’s Walter and Marie Williams building to hear the two-hour debate between state Rep. Greg Murphy, R-Pitt, and Dr. Joan Perry of Kinston that also touched on abortion, immigration and other topics.

Murphy, a Greenville urologist and surgeon, and Perry, a pediatrician, are bidding for the GOP nomination in the July 9 runoff election. The winner will face candidates from the Democratic, Libertarian and Constitutional parties in a special election on Sept. 10.

Political ads took center stage at Monday’s debate, with Murphy slamming an ad produced by the Women For Women Action Fund. The ad calls Murphy a “typical politician” who has voted for higher taxes and “billions in new debt.” It also uses a truncated quote from a 2016 newspaper interview Murphy gave to attempt to paint him as opposed to President Donald Trump. 

During the interview with The Daily Reflector, Murphy — who was then running for the state House — was asked how the presidential race between then-Republican candidate Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton 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,” Murphy said in the interview.

In the Women For Women Action Fund ad, a voiceover states, “With a record like that, no wonder Murphy said President Trump is the worst top of our ticket in history.”

Murphy has described the ad as “full of lies” and prior to Monday’s debate, said his campaign is filing suit to stop it from being broadcast. 

“The people of the 3rd District are people of integrity and honesty — they do not  like being lied to,” he said during the debate.

Murphy then asked Perry if she speaks “for honesty and integrity.”

“Is that what’s important? Do you renounce that ad and the group that did it? It is full of lies,” he said.

Perry said she was not aware of the ad until Monday afternoon. She noted that the ad didn’t come from her campaign but instead was funded by an independent group. 

“I’m not going to renounce something that I haven’t investigated myself,” she said.

Perry also noted that she had been the target of negative advertising by a group she claimed backs Murphy.  

“I would be happy to agree with you, Greg, that we have no negativity, but I first need to mention that I began to set the record straight 12 hours after the election when a group affiliated with you came out with an attack on me with complete untruths,” she said.

Perry and Murphy also responded to questions about border security and abortion during Monday’s debate.  

On border security, both candidates lauded President Trump and pledged support for a border wall.  

“We literally have people running over the border every day with drugs,” Murphy said. “Our president was 100 percent spot on to declare a national emergency. And I declared that and I supported that from day one. We need a physical border that prevents physical objects from moving one point to another — be they drugs, be they people, be they human trafficking.”

Perry called immigration an escalating crisis.    

“The immigration crisis is doing nothing but escalating,” she said. “And we have to support the president in building the wall. I have supported the wall — I have supported the wall from the very beginning. Clearly it is an emergency and clearly, an emergency declaration is in order.”

She added that the federal government needs to find money to build the wall “from any place but in a way without hampering our military.”


On abortion, both candidates were asked if Roe v. Wade — the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling prohibiting states from outlawing abortion — should be overturned and if abortions can be allowed in cases of rape, incest and other emergencies. 

“Now we have ultrasounds, that draws out the question of when does life begin,” Perry said. “Now we see the issue going to the states, and I think that’s appropriate.”

Murphy praised Alabama and other states that have adopted some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.

“It is states like Alabama and other states that are dealing with abortion that actually make me optimistic that our moral compass has not gone completely away, that we care about the sanctity of life, that we care about the mother. Just because an abortion occurs doesn’t mean any healing occurs,” Murphy said. 

Both candidates agreed that no exceptions for circumstances should be made for abortions and that life begins at conception.    

“Life starts at conception without exception and that is the rule,” Murphy said. 

Perry said she doesn’t believe there are any circumstances where abortion should be legal.

“I also believe that every life is ordained by God and life begins at conception,” she said.

Both candidates also addressed questions about the economy, the Second Amendment, health care. Both candidates vowed to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to cut spending and stop Medicaid expansion. They also said they would not vote to ban assault-style weapons or impose gun restrictions.   

Because both candidates are physicians, they were asked if they planned to give up their practices if they’re elected. Perry said she would; Murphy said he would not. 

Murphy and Perry agreed to support the candidate who wins the GOP primary. Murphy commented that the Third Congressional District is a Republican district.