Micah Wilkins, Staff Writer (mwilkins@wwc)
The votes are in, the ballots have been counted, and the Republicans have made several victories throughout the country. But in Buncombe county, where 45 percent of the population came out to vote, many of the Democratic candidates were successful by the end of the night Tuesday.
This midterm election voter turnout was at the lowest level Buncombe county has seen in at least 30 years. The 45 percent of the population who cast their ballots also included the 30,000 individuals who voted early, according to the Mountain Xpress.
The victorious candidates are as follows:
Incumbent Richard Burr defeated Democratic candidate Elaine Marshall, retaining his seat as Senator with a renewed promise to rein in government spending and debt. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, Burr held 55 percent of the vote, while Marshall held 43 percent and Libertarian candidate Michael Beitler held 2 percent. This will be Burr’s second term as Senator, after having served a decade in the House.
Democratic Congressman Health Shuler defeated his opponent, Republican Jeff Miller, in his bid for a seat in the House. Incumbent Shuler claimed 54 percent of the vote Tuesday in a solid victory. According to Shuler, he feels “blessed” to have won this midterm election. “Things are looking tough right now with our party,” Shuler said to the Citizen Times. Congressman Shuler has been representing North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District since his election in 2006.
Democratic incumbent Martin L. Nesbitt defeated Republican opponent R. L. Clark with 59 percent of the vote in a bid for the NC State Senate District 49 seat. In NC State Senate District 48, Republican Tom Apodaca defeated Democratic candidate Chris Dixon in a solid victory, with 60 percent of the vote.
Despite the expectation that Republican candidates would rack in the most votes, two of the three NC House democrats were victorious Tuesday night. Democrat Susan Fisher retained her 114th District seat, while Democrat Patsy Keever retained her 115th District seat, the seat that she filled after Bruce Goforth’s resignation. However, incumbent Jane Whilden lost to Republican opponent Tim Moffitt in the 116th District seat race.
Democrat Ron Moore won his sixth term as District Attorney in the election against Republican candidate Bridgette Odom. Moore was first elected district attorney in 1990 and has comfortably held the position ever since.
Sheriff Van Duncan defeated Republican Dickie Green by a wide margin of victory Tuesday, almost reaching 70 percent. Duncan has held his position as sheriff since 2006.
Clerk of Superior Court
Democrat Steven Cogburn defeated Republican John R. Sutton, Jr., racking in 57 percent of all the votes.
Supreme Court Associate Judge
Robert C. Hunter defeated Barbara Jackson with 55 percent of the vote.
Court of Appeals Judges
Sanford Steelman ran uncontested for his seat. Jane Gray defeated Ann Maria Calabria with 53 percent of the vote for her seat. Rick Elmore retained his seat after defeating Steven Walker with 56 percent of the vote. Martha Geer also retained her seat as the Court of Appeals Judge, defeating opponent Dean R. Poirier.
District Court Judges, District 28
Sharon Barrett, Julie M. Kepple, and Becky Knight all kept their seats as District Court Judges, running uncontested. Shirley Brown also kept her seat, defeating John Jay Watson. Patricia Kaufmann Young also retained her seat at District Court Judge in a solid victory, defeating Rhonda Moorefield.
Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor
Chase Hubbard and Elise Israel were victorious Tuesday by narrow majorities. Hubbard, who manages the Warren Wilson farm, defeated opponent Jeff Turner by less than 200 votes, according to the Buncombe county election results.
Buncombe County School Board
Lisa Baldwin, a political newcomer, became the new Reynolds district representative to the Buncombe county school board Tuesday. Bob Rhinehart will return as Enka member while Erwin member Pat Bryant ran unopposed.
Court of Appeals Judge
Cressie Thigpen defeated 12 other opponents in an Instant Runoff Voting contest for Court of Appeals Judge.
Superior Court Judge District 28
Marvin Pope defeated Heather Whitaker Goldstein and Diane K. McDonald in an Instant Runoff Voting contest for Superior Court Judge, with 53 percent of the vote.
85 percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of the Constitutional Amendment, which permanently bars convicted felons from running for or serving as a county sheriff.