Path clears for Bishop in AG contest

FILE - U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., votes for Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., in the House chamber as the House meets for a second day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress, Jan. 4, 2023, in Washington. Bishop announced on Thursday, Aug. 3, that he would run for North Carolina attorney general in 2024 rather than seek to remain in Congress, where he's become a conservative foil to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

RALEIGH — When Rep. Dan Bishop decided to trade a Capitol Hill office for a chance to become North Carolina’s top law enforcement officer, candidates who expressed interest in the Republican nomination stepped aside — except for Tom Murry. That changed, however, as the former state legislator and current assistant district attorney is opting for a run for the N.C. Court of Appeals. 

The entry of Bishop into the race changed the calculus for Murry, who began campaigning for the post shortly after the 2022 general election. Other rumored candidates who were eyeing the race included Andrew Murray, a former U.S. attorney and current district attorney in Henderson County, and Sam Hayes, general counsel for House Speaker Tim Moore and former 2020 Republican primary candidate. 

Support from the national Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and Club for Growth on Bishop’s behalf combined with raising nearly $1 million upon formally joining the race sent a clear message that Bishop was a heavy favorite in the race. 

Murry now is poised to join a primary race against current appellate judge Hunter Murphy, who won his first term on the court of appeals in 2016, and Rockingham County district court judge Chris Freeman, who announced for the seat over the summer. 

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Matt Mercer is the editor in chief of North State Journal and can be reached at [email protected].