By Peter Vankevich
The devastating effects of Hurricane Dorian on Ocracoke Island will not interfere with tomorrow’s special Third Congressional District election.
Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday (Sept. 10). Because the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department building is being used as the emergency post-hurricane hub, a special tent will be set up adjacent to the building.
The election was called after long-serving Congressman Walter B. Jones died on Feb. 10.
The candidates are as follows:
Democrat Allen M. Thomas
Republican Greg Murphy
Libertarian Tim Harris
Constitution Party Greg Holt
A total of 27 candidates 17 Republicans, six Democrats, two Libertarians and one Constitution Party candidate filed earlier in the year for the opportunity to represent 17 counties of the eastern North Carolina in the House of Representatives in Washington, DC. In the April 30 primary, Allen Thomas (Democrat), a former mayor of Greenville and Tim Harris (Libertarian) of New Bern got enough votes to represent their parties and Greg Holt (Constitution Party) was unopposed.
Greg Murphy, a state representative and urologist from Greenville, topped the 17-candidate Republican field with 22.5 percent (9,505) of the vote and Joan Perry, a pediatrician from Kinston and first-time candidate, was second with 15.4 percent (6,510). Since the Republican winner did not receive more than 30 percent of the vote, a runoff election between Murphy and Perry was held July 9 and Murphy easily won and will be on the ballot tomorrow.
Jones has represented North Carolina’s 3rd congressional district since 1995.
Jones was known as an independent, often breaking with the Republican leadership. He supported raising the minimum wage, opposed offshore drilling, and voted against the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
A fierce deficit hawk, he voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 due to the anticipated $2 trillion that would be added to the national debt. “I’m all for tax reform, but it must grow the economy, not the debt,” he stated.
Jones is perhaps best known nationally for his turn against the Iraq War, which he voted for in 2002. “I will never forget my mistake because people died because of my mistake,” he told the AP. “I bought into believing that President (George W.) Bush didn’t really want to go to war. That’s how naive I was at the time. … I could have voted no, and I didn’t.”