EDITOR’S NOTE: Carolina Public Press originally published this article at 2:45 a.m. on Nov. 8, 2017, immediately after election night 2017. It was updated and reposted at 3:15 p.m., on Nov. 17, 2017, after county boards of election finished canvassing the results. Updated information appears under the municipalities whose results were clarified by the canvassing process, during which provisional votes are counted.
Voters in cities and towns across Western North Carolina went to the polls Tuesday to select mayors and council members and decide on municipal referendums.
Carolina Public Press offers an overview of the results in each county and municipality. Counties and respective cities and towns appear alphabetically below.
Michael P. Dunn and Robert Edgar Tufts won election to the town council without opposition.
J. Weidner Abernethy, Barry Kaufman and Carl Marquardt prevailed in a five-way race for three seats on the town council, finishing ahead of the other candidates in the portions of town in both Avery County and Watauga County.
Tudor Vance, facing no opposition, won the mayor’s race.
With just two filed candidates appearing on the ballot for three council seats, the contest came down to write-in votes. The two official candidates, Jesse Smith and Dan Vance, appeared to have won easily.
Write-in candidate Jane Milanovich appeared to hold a slight lead over all other write-in candidates combined for the third seat. This result may require confirmation with the county board of elections canvasses the vote next week.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: The canvassing process verified that Jane Milanovich won the third council seat in Crossnore.
Although John Boone faced no other filed candidates on the ballot, write-ins made some noise in the mayor’s race. Still, Boone prevailed with a 16-vote margin, or about 58 percent of the vote.
A six-way race for five council seats, like a game of musical chairs, was sure to leave one candidate disappointed. The contest rewarded Joel Whitley, Tony Eller, Tommy Norman, Daniel Boone and Michael E. Smith.
No one who voted in Tuesday’s mayor’s race had any problems with Robert (Bob) Donovan winning. All 12 voters supported the unopposed candidate, giving him 100 percent of the vote.
Not to be outdone, two unopposed council candidates, David G. Jones and Andre Tennille, also carried all 12 votes.
Valerie Calloway Jaynes, running unopposed, easily won election as mayor.
James (Jamey) Johnson, Lauren Jaynes Turbyfill and Joleta Wise easily won in a seven-candidate contest for three seats on the town council.
Despite the town’s colorful name, just five candidates appeared on the ballot to vie for three seats on the town council. Brad Lambert, Tina Bailey and Kay Ehlinger carried the race with top-three finishes among voters in both the Avery County and Watauga County portions of the town.
Unopposed council candidates David P. Ammann and Scott J. Brown won easily.
Mayor Esther Manheimer easily won re-election with more than 80 percent of the vote against challenger Martin Ramsey.
In the at-large contest for three council seats, Vijay Kapoor, Sheneika Smith and Gwen Wisler were victorious in a field of six candidates. Wisler was the only incumbent in the running on Tuesday’s ballot, ensuring two new faces on the city’s six-member council.
Voters also overwhelmingly defeated a proposed city charter amendment that would have created six districts for future elections. The measure was something of a symbolic farce as the council responded to pressure from state legislators.
Districts may be in the city’s future despite Tuesday’s vote, which legislators had said was unnecessary.
Lawmakers in Raleigh have threatened to create a district voter plan for Asheville because they claim the current at-large system gives no voice to conservative voters, who may be clustered in outlying areas of the city.
Don Collins won a majority of the vote for mayor, with C. Michael Sobol and Weston Hall trailing.
Ryan Stone and Jeramie Konegni easily won town alderman seats against three other candidates.
Kent Otto, Alice Boggs Lentz and Tom Widner won three town commissioner seats in a four-way race.
Without an opponent, Al Root easily captured the mayor’s race. Doug Jackson and Dottie Sherrill won two seats for town council by a wide margin in a four-way race.
Debra A. Geitzentanner, Jackie W. Bryson and Don Hensley faced no opposition in their race for three alderman seats. Also elected without opposition as Woodfin Sanitary Water and Sewer District Trustees were Sarah W. Gassaway, Ivo Ballentine and Don Haynes.
COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
Burke was among a small number of North Carolina school districts that selected board members during Tuesday’s off-year elections.
Buddy Armour and Sam Wilkinson were each unopposed and won easily in their districts. Seth P. Hunt Jr. won with more than 52 percent of the vote in a three-way race for the county’s western district.
COUNTY REFERENDUMS ON ALCOHOL
Burke County voters passed a series of alcohol-related ballot measures on Tuesday. These included support for ABC Store operation, malt beverage sales, mixed beverage sales and unfortified wine sales.
In each case, the measures carried with more than 62 percent of the vote.
Voters selected council members for two district seats. In Morganton, the council member resides in the district but is elected by the entire city.
Chris Hawkins won with more than 71 percent of the vote against three other candidates in District 3. Wendy Cato led two other candidates with a 47 percent plurality win for District 4.
Unopposed mayoral candidate John E. Berry won easily.
The four-way race for three council seats was more complicated. Carroll Turner was the top vote-getter and appeared to have one one seat. But the other three candidates were separated by just two votes, though Terry R. Childers and Josh Phillips maintained a slim lead. The result will have to be confirmed when the county board of elections canvasses the vote next week.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: The canvassing process confirmed that Turner, Childers and Phillips were the winners in the council race.
Dannie P. Ritchie, running unopposed, easily won the mayor’s race.
In the three-way race for two council seats, Carroll Franklin led all candidates, while Dennis Anthony won the final seat by less than 10 votes.
Bob Benfield won the mayor’s race, beating his opponent with more than 63 percent of the vote.
A six-way race for three alderman seats saw Sheila W. Perkins and Gary Meese leading the field by a comfortable margin. Although the contest for the final seat was close, Tim M. Suttles held a slight edge over the other candidates.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: The canvassing process confirmed that Suttles won the third seat on the council.
Yes, Hickory is a major city located mostly in Catawba County, generally considered to be just outside of the Western North Carolina region. However, a small portion of the city is in Burke County, which sent 12 voters to the polls to cast ballots for Hickory city offices.
Gauging the results from both counties, Hank Guess won the mayor’s race with about 52 percent of the vote, despite trailing badly in the Burke County returns, according to reports from the Hickory Record.
David Zagaroli won the Ward 5 alderman seat by a wide margin, with strong support from Burke County. Jill Patton, running unopposed, won the Ward 6 seat.
Wendell Hildebrand defeated an opponent in the mayor’s race with more than 63 percent of the vote.
Cole Herrell, Ben Honeycutt and Mike Smith easily prevailed in the four-way race for three council seats.
Like Hickory, parts of Long View are in Catawba and part in Burke, however this town is more evenly divided between the two.
Marla G. Thompson held a slim lead in the three-way mayor’s race, according to the Hickory Record. However, with less than 10 votes separating the top two candidates, the results may need to be confirmed when the two county boards of election canvass their votes next week.
In the only council race to include Burke County voters, they gave Dallas B. Tester a large lead over two other candidates.
This town is relatively evenly divided between portions in Burke and Caldwell counties. The county line did not appear to affect preferences for municipal offices on Tuesday.
Mike Justice, running unopposed, easily won the mayor’s race.
Mike Phillips and Joe Kirby led the four-candidate field in both counties in the race for two council seats.
Town voters also backed municipal referendums to allow sales of malt beverages and unfortified wine.
Gary McClure, running unopposed, easily won the mayor’s race.
The race for three council seats was less clear. Kress Berry and Gerald Smith led all candidates. But the total write-in votes, 92, exceeded the total vote for the other filed candidate, Bill Satterwhite at 77. As a result, confirmation of the result will have to await the county board of elections canvassing of the vote next week.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: Post-election review of the write-in votes and the canvassing process confirmed that Zachariah Cagle, a write-in candidate won the most votes at 91. Kress Berry and Gerald Smith also won council seats.
John F. (Chip) Black, running unopposed, won the mayor’s race easily.
Also unopposed with easy victories were the candidates in three town council wards: Gary L. Delp, Susan Stevenson and Roy Sweezy.
In one of the few North Carolina municipalities that conducts partisan races for its offices, Murphy voters chose Republican Rick Ramsey over his Democratic opponent with about 62 percent of the vote.
However, in the race for six council seats, voters chose four Democrats and just two Republicans. Winning seats on the council were, in order of finish, Democrat Noland W. Smith, Republican Barry R. McClure, Democrat Karen Wilson, Democrat Barbara J. Hughes, Republican Gail Walker Stansell, and Democrat Frank Earl Dickey.
The outcome was not necessarily a sign of a poor showing for Republican council members on election do so much as earlier this year during the filing period — the only two GOP candidates to file were among the winners.
James D. Reid easily won in a two-way race for mayor with more than 75% of the vote.
Eleven candidates crowded the field for four council seats, with Steve Jordan, Scott Stalcup, Richelle Phillips and Mike Sheidy prevailing.
Harry Baughn cruised to victory with more than 72 percent of the vote in the race for mayor.
With just three candidates in a race for three council seats, Austin P. Hedden, William L. Penland and Joe Slaton were easy winners.
Steven Ray Hooper won in the two-way mayor’s race with more than 61 percent of the vote.
Eleven candidates battled for three aldermen’s seats with close results. The top two vote-getters were Shaun Adams and Brian (Taco) Johnson. But the final seat was contested by five candidates with between 40 and 49 votes each. Debbie Beasley held a one-vote lead among this group, but the results will have to be confirmed when the county board of elections canvasses the vote next week.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: The canvassing process confirmed that Beasley won the final alderman’s seat.
Six candidates faced off for five council seats. Prevailing were Karen Anderson, Keith E. Predmore, Jim Hager, Patrick O’Donovan and Bob Wehr.
Write-in candidates led in the races for both mayor and four council seats. As a result, no result can be determined until after the county board of elections canvasses the vote next week.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: The canvassing process confirmed that Rob Hardy was elected mayor, while Jonathan Peoples, Tracy Williams, Sarah Locke and Gregg Corvelle won council seats.
Running without official opposition, Zeb L. Smathers won the mayor’s race handily despite a flurry of write-in votes.
Kristina Smith and James Markey won a four-way race for two alderman seats.
Frank Lay and Jim Trantham won without opposition in a two-way race for two alderman seats.
Mike Eveland and Clayton Davis won by a wide margin in a five-way race for two alderman seats.
Sheryl Jamerson, Paige Posey and Albert S. Gooch Jr. each ran without opposition for village council district seats and won easily.
Rod Whiteside won a relatively close two-way race for mayor with about 54 percent of the vote.
Two district council seats featured no opposition and were claimed by Sheila Franklin and Eddie S. Henderson.
Unopposed, Barbara G. Volk skated to victory in the mayor’s race.
Jeff Miller and Jerry Smith Jr. won by a wide margin in a four-way race for two council seats.
With just two candidates running for two council seats, A. Paul Hansen and Nancy Prior McKinley won handily.
Three of Mills River’s council districts featured races this year. In Districts 1 and 2, Brian Caskey and Paul Richmond Meadows Jr., respectively, each won in relatively close two-candidate contests.
In District 3, Chae Trantham Davis carried the three-way race by a wide margin.
(See Polk County)
Running unopposed, Michael Fitzgerald claimed the mayor’s race.
In a seven-way race for five council seats, Tim Parris, David Gates, John Chinners, David Jones and Tim Hall prevailed.
Unopposed candidate Kolleen Begley easily won the mayor’s race.
Clark Corwin and Carl Hooper prevailed in a three-way race for two council seats.
Running for an unexpired council seat term without opposition, Sharon Dalton Stovall won easily.
(See Macon County)
Lynda Sossamon won a two-way contest for mayor with more than 64 percent of the vote.
Running without other opposition, Barbara W. Hamilton and Mary Kelley Gelbaugh claimed two council seats.
Tracy Rodes, running unopposed, carried every vote except for one undervote in the race for mayor.
With just three candidates for three council seats, Leigh Anne Young, Alan Grant and Dannell Moses claimed victory.
Bob Scott won the mayor’s race without opposition.
In a six-way race for three council seats, Barbara S. McRae, David B. Culpepper, and Billy Mashburn were the winners.
Unopposed candidate Patrick L. Taylor won the mayor’s race.
With just candidates running, Amy Patterson and Donnie Calloway won two council seats.
Running without opposition, Sidney Harris won the mayor’s race.
Vaughan Barnett was the top finisher in a four-way race for three alderman seats. But with the other three candidates separated by just eight votes, the results for the other two seats may need to be confirmed when the county board of elections canvasses the vote next week. Currently, Jimmy Moore and Jeanne Gentry hold a slim lead.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: The canvassing process confirmed that Barnett, Moore and Gentry won alderman’s seats.
John L. Chandler won the two-way mayor’s race with a commanding 91.6 percent of the vote.
Nicholas Honeycutt and Bob Zink claimed council seats as the only candidates.
Jack Wallin won in an unopposed mayor’s race.
In a four-way contest for three council seats, Billie Jean Haynie, Christiaan Ramsey and Thomas Jablonski were the winners.
Laura Ponder Smith won her unopposed bid to complete an unexpired council seat term.
Steve Little claimed the mayor’s race, running without opposition.
In an eight-way race for three council seats, Woody Ayers and Juanita Doggett were the top finishers. Ann Harkey held a narrow edge for the final seat, but the vote was close enough that confirmation of the result may need to wait on the county board of elections canvassing of the vote next week.
Marion voters also overwhelmingly voted for ABC stores sales.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: The canvassing process confirmed that Ayers, Doggett and Harkey won council seats.
Rick Hensley carried the two-way mayor’s race with more than 83 percent of the vote.
Wayne Stafford and Melvin (Shady) Lytle claimed two council seats as the only candidates running.
Charles E. Vines held a three-vote lead in a two way race for mayor. The result may need confirmation when the county board of elections canvasses the vote next week.
In a three way contest for two council seats, Jordan Baker was the top finisher while Bo Buckner held a narrow lead for the second seat.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: The canvassing process confirmed Vines’ election as mayor and Baker and Buckner as council members.
Darla Phillips Harding claimed the mayor’s seat without opposition.
The only two candidates, Larry McKinney and Jackie Biddix Rensink, claimed two council seats.
James Eric McIntyre claimed the mayor’s race, running without opposition.
In a six-way race for three council seats, Robert Williamson and Richard Hall were the top finishers. Mark Phillips held a three-vote edge for the final seat, but the county board of elections will need to confirm the result when it canvasses the vote next week.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: The canvassing process confirmed that Phillips won the third seat on the council.
Fred Baisden won a two-way contest for mayor with more than 68 percent of the vote.
In a four-way race for two council seats, Mark Oxtoby and Paul C. Marion finished on top.
J. Alan Peoples won the two-way mayor’s race with more than 89 percent of the vote.
Bill Bingham and Bill Crowell won the three-way race for two council seats.
In a two-way contest to fill out of vacant council term, Chrelle Booker won with more than 85 percent of the vote.
Mitch Harrill claimed the mayor’s race, running unopposed.
Michael Hollifield and Billy Lattimore claimed two council seats as the only candidates.
Two candidates for village council finished in a dead heat with 14 votes apiece. Fortunately, there are two seats, so both Bruce Godzik and April M. Sottile were winners.
In a five-way contest for three alderman seats, Liz Blanton, Lee Allen and Pamela L. Padgett were the winners.
Steve Holland claimed the mayor’s race, running unopposed.
In a four-way competition for two city commissioner seats, David Eaker and Shawn Moore won by a wide margin.
Facing no opposition, Kevin Cooley won the mayor’s race.
A five-way race for two town commissioner seats, John E. Kilby and John W. Moore were the winners.
Write-in candidate Denver Buchman narrowly won the race for mayor over a filed candidate.
Nicholas Goode and write-in candidate William Steppe narrowly claimed two council seats over another candidate.
Running without opposition, Jimmy G. Dancy claimed the mayor’s race.
In the three-way race for two council seats, Stanley Lennon (Stan) Clements and Terry D. Cobb were the winners.
Mickey Bland won the two-way mayor’s contest with more than 76 percent of the vote.
Robin K. Ensley and Tom Roberson carried the three-way race for two town commissioner seats.
Spindale voters also strongly supported measures to allow malt beverage and unfortified wine sales.
In a five-way race for two alderman seats, Ben King and Janine Barker Crisp prevailed.
Voters overwhelmingly backed measures to allow sales of malt beverages and unfortified wines.
Jimmy Harris, running without opposition, claimed the mayor’s race.
In a three-way race for two council seats, Maureen Mahan Copelof and Mac Morrow were winners.
Three candidates claimed the three alderman seats up for vote this year: Jared M. Crowe, Missy Hendricks and Deedra Shelton.
(See Avery County)
Charles Sellers carried areas of town in both Watauga and Caldwell counties to claim the mayor’s race in a two-way contest.
Similarly, Doug Matheson, Sue Sweeting and Virginia Powell led in both counties to claim a four-way contest for three seats on the council.
Rennie Brantz claimed the mayor’s race, running unopposed.
A seven-way contest for three council seats saw Sam Furgiuele, Connie Ulmer and Marshall Ashcraft win by a significant margin.
(See Avery County)
Theresa Coletta won a two-way race for mayor with more than 54 percent of the vote.
In a five-way contest for two council seats, Russell Fox and Helen (Bunnie) McIntosh were winners by a wide margin.