Four GOP candidates challenge Murphy in 3rd Congressional District primary (2024)

By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on May 16, 2022

Left to right: Greg Murphy, Tony Cowden, Eric Earhart, Brian Friend, and George J. Papastrat

Four candidates are challenging incumbent Third District Congressman Greg Murphy in the Republican primary to be held on March 17.

Aside from Murphy, of Greenville, the candidates include Tony Cowden of Harrells; Eric Earhart of Eure; Brian Friend of Wilmington; and George Papastrat of Richlands. They are running for what has been considered a safe Republican seat.

Because of the large number of candidates in the race, the Voice is providing biographical information found on the candidates’ websites or on the Ballotpedia site (Ballotpedia). The story also provides links to the candidates’ more detailed explanations of their positions from their own sites.

Greg Murphy: A physician, Dr. Murphy and his wife Wendy have three children and have lived in Greenville for more than 20 years. He received his undergraduate degree from Davidson and then graduated from the UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine. He a faculty member of the ECU School of Medicine and a former Chief of Staff of Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

In his work, Murphy has traveled to countries around the world facing challenging conditions. During his time in India, he cared for thoseafflicted with leprosy. He worked in Haitiafter its devastating earthquake. And he organized a group of physicians and aid workers tomobilize on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Murphy successfully ran in North Carolina’s Third Congressional District special election in 2019 to replace Congressman Walter B Jones, Jr, who passed away in office. He was officially sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 15, 2019.

In order to read his positions on key issues, click on this link Issues – Dr. Greg Murphy for Congress (

Tony Cowden: Cowden describes himself as a “principled conservative leader” and the website of his company, Capable Inc., notes that he spent 22 years in the Special Operations community, serving more than 8 years and 28 deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Central Asian and Africa countries.

Cowden began training for and competing in triathlons in 1998 and 2005 in functional fitness competitions. His business offers a series of services ranging from fitness training to preparing military personnel for operational readiness.

On his webpage, Cowden connects the current state of the country to his military career, noting that just “when he thought his generation’s wars were over, a new conflict emerged. This time it is a conflict to protect the values we cherish, your children’s futures, and the very soul of our country. Make no mistake, this will be the most difficult fight Tony has ever engaged in.”

To get more information on Tony’s positions on the issues, click on this link. TONY’S STANCES | Cowden (

Eric Earhart: The Ballotpedia bio notes that Earhart was born inHampton Virginia and served in the U.S. Army for 10 years. On his site, Earhart said that he completed a two-year program at Emmaus Bible College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and development from Regent University in 2014.

Earhart has served as associate pastor and outreach coordinator for Carpenter’s Shop International Church and is the founding pastor of the Upper Room Assembly, which is described as the first multi-cultural congregation in Gates County history.

In 2020, he published his book “Emancipation Proclamation” in which he “shares his journey from prison to pulpit and reveals the dark past of the felony laws used in America today. It is a call for justice for those citizens who have paid their debt.”

Earhart cites an endorsem*nt from the Eastern North Carolina Tea Party and describes himself as a “Christian – Conservative – Veteran – Family Man.” To learn more about him, visit his site Eric Earhart for Congress.

Brian Friend: Friend was born in Akron, Ohio into a blue-collar family. He moved to Kure Beach, NC in 1987 and received an undergraduate degree in accounting at UNC-Wilmington in 1997, and also earned master’s degrees in Forensic Accounting and Advanced Taxation. He started an insurance company in 2002 and also worked in construction. As another part of his bio, Friend notes that he coached Semi-Pro football for the North Carolina Port City Thunder and Port City Diesel, (Wilmington) and the Port City Chargers (Southport).

Friend describes himself as “a revolved-republican and my views have become conservative. Born and raised in Ohio during the 60’s and 70’s, everyone was blue-collar, hard-working and considered Democrats, and as I have become, older life’s wisdom has brought me to the Republican Party.” He also describes himself as “Pro God, Pro Military, Pro Law Enforcement and Pro 2nd Amendment.”

Discussing his opponents on his website, Friend states that “the current Congressman and candidates may be good people. I am not bashing anyone, but if we walked into a dark alley, I will be the one walking out.”

To learn more about Friend’s positions, clink on this link Brian Friend For Congress 2022 – Vote For Brian Friend (

George Papastrat: Papastrat, who was born in New York State, is a Marine veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and finished his military career at Camp Lejeune. The Ballotpedia bio notes that he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in business administration from American Military University in 2012 and 2016. A husband and father, he currently owns Tideline Marine & Family in Jacksonville, NC.

On his site, Papastrat said he was deeply influenced by the message in Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, adding that “the funny thing about being a kid, is we aren’t filled with hate or contempt, we don’t see differences in religion or politics, we see the other person as someone to interact with, learn with and play. As an adult, I want that to become a reality.”

Noting that his family immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1990’s and fought in both World Wars, Papastrat states on his website that he is a “grandchild of immigrants, who have selflessly served their country in every major conflict since the Great War… I am the American dream.”

To learn more about Papastrat and his views, click on georgeforcongress (


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Four GOP candidates challenge Murphy in 3rd Congressional District primary (13)

Four GOP candidates challenge Murphy in 3rd Congressional District primary (14)


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).

Four GOP candidates challenge Murphy in 3rd Congressional District primary (2024)


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