Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian primaries in the special election for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District will take place on Tuesday, April 30.
Twenty-five candidates are running in the two primaries. The winner of the special election will succeed former Rep. Walter Jones (R), who died in February 2019. Jones had held the seat since 1995 and never received less than 60 percent of the vote dating back to 2000.
There are 17 Republican candidates, including six elected officials and six candidates with backgrounds in politics or notable endorsements. State Rep. Greg Murphy leads the field in fundraising at $320,000. Two notable outside groups have issued endorsements in the race: Club for Growth PAC backs Celeste Cairns and Susan B. Anthony List backs Joan Perry. Both groups have made ad buys on behalf of their preferred candidate, with Cairns also getting an ad buy from Awake Carolina and Perry getting one from Winning for Women.
There are six Democratic candidates. Two have raised more than $100,000: Allen Thomas ($255,000) and Richard Bew ($125,000). Thomas is the former mayor of Greenville, and Bew is a retired Marine colonel.
The date of the general election is dependent on the outcome of the primary elections. If no candidate receives more than 30 percent of the vote in either primary, a primary runoff will take place on July 9. The general election would then take place on September 30. If primary runoffs are not necessary, the general election will be July 9.
The 2018 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was R+12, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were 12 percentage points more Republican than the national average. This made North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District the 111th-most Republican nationally. No Democratic candidate ran against Jones in 2018.
As of April 25, 2019, there have been four special elections called during the 116th Congress. Three of those are for seats in the U.S. House, and one is for a seat in the U.S. Senate. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, a total of 40 special elections were held. During the 115th Congress, four of the 17 special elections resulted in a seat changing partisan hands. All of those seats flipped from Republicans to Democrats.