More than 10,000 early votes cast in GOP runoff
As the majority of Republican and unaffiliated voters prepare for the second congressional primary race that takes place today, thousands have already cast theirs in early voting.
Of the 311,809 eligible voters in the 17-county area, 10,535 voted early — or 3.38 percent — leading up to today's Election Day race between Dr. Greg Murphy and Dr. Joan Perry. In the April 30 race in a Republican party filled with 17 hopefuls for the U.S. House of Representatives District 3 seat, Murphy received 22.54 percent of the votes and Perry 15.44 percent — below the 30 percent threshold for the party's nomination.
As a result, today's runoff between the two candidates will determine who will move on to the Sept. 10 election against Democratic candidate Allen Thomas, Libertarian candidate Tim Harris and Constitution candidate Greg Holt.
Locally, all three counties were above the average rate in voter turnout with Lenoir County finishing second in percentage with 6.64 percent, behind Chowan County's 7.17 percent turnout. According to Lenoir County Board of Elections officials, there were 1,124 early voters and 16 absentee ballots cast.
In Greene County, 205 voters — 4.20 percent — came to the polls early.
“It was a pretty good turnout for a special election and we're looking forward to more of the same (today),” Greene County Board of Elections director Trey Cash said.
In Jones County, 126 voters came to the polls early for a rate of 3.38 percent.
“It was about what we expected,” Jones County Board of Elections director Jennifer King said. “We would've liked to have seen more voters, but the special elections don't see as many.”
Perry said there have been changes from the initial primary to the runoff, but she's enjoyed it all.
"The intensity has been a difference, which I predicted with fundraising, dealing emotionally with the campaign and a compressed campaign schedule," Perry said. "It has been an honor to be a part of this process and I love the people of Eastern North Carolina even more than when I started campaigning. I've enjoyed being a part of all aspects over the past four months, learning issues and meeting awesome people.
"Although it's been an intense race, I've enjoyed it and I appreciate those who embraced my message."
Multiple attempts to reach Murphy for comment were unsuccessful.