Obama wins re-election
As of 2 a.m. Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Democratic President Barack Obama had received 53,924,808 votes in the 2012 presidential election, good for 50 percent of the popular vote and 303 Electoral College votes, while Republican candidate Mitt Romney had garnered 53,124,118 votes, a 49 percent share good for 203 Electoral College votes.
With 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure the presidency, the AP called the race for Obama at 11:38 p.m. Tuesday. Romney delivered a concession speech shortly before 1 a.m.
“We are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation, as one people,” Obama said in his victory speech in Chicago. “We will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. Progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line, but that common bond is where we must begin.”
In conceding victory to Obama from Boston, Romney said, “This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation. The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.”
Republicans sweep state
Watauga County’s two freshmen Republicans in the General Assembly have won the right to return to Raleigh, according to unofficial election results.
N.C. Rep. Jonathan Jordan of Jefferson defeated Democrat Cullie Tarleton of Blowing Rock for the second consecutive election to clinch his second term in the N.C. House of Representatives for the 93rd District, which includes Ashe and Watauga counties.
Jordan won by a margin of 1,029 votes in unofficial results — or 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent. The Republican was outspent by the Tarleton’s campaign by a factor of more than 2 to 1 in a race that raised more than $250,000.
“I’m very honored and privileged to be able to serve a second term,” Jordan said. “I’ve been elected to represent all citizens of the High Country, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Tarleton said that he expected to lose in Ashe County, but that he had hoped a margin of victory in Watauga would deliver the district for him.
“Looking at the results in Ashe, Democrats just didn’t do well at all,” Tarleton said. “It was just not a good time to be a Democrat for Ashe County, I suppose.”
He added, “I’m very grateful to those people who supported me, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to put a victory on the books and go to Raleigh and work for them. As the old saying goes, the people have spoken, and we’ll abide by the results.”
Republican state Sen. Dan Soucek of Boone also won his re-election bid, defeating Roy Carter of Glendale Springs in the 45th District, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Watauga, Avery and Caldwell counties.
Soucek said he wants to continue leadership on education issues and to focus on jobs and the economy when the General Assembly convenes in January.
“I’m really excited about the results of the race,” he said. “I was impressed by (Jordan’s) victory. I think it was a come-from-behind win. We’re exhausted, but it’s time to get to work.”
Carter did not immediately respond to a phone message as of presstime.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory led Democrat Walter Dalton by wide margins in polls leading up to the election and followed through with a significant defeat of the lieutenant governor, winning the governorship with 54 percent of the vote, compared to 43 percent for Dalton.
The N.C. Supreme Court will continue to be a conservative body with the re-election of Paul Martin Newby.
According to unofficial results, Newby beat competitor Sam J. Ervin IV with about 52 percent of the vote. Newby received 1,826,981 votes statewide compared to 1,688,296 for Ervin.
On the N.C. Court of Appeals, incumbents won two out of three seats. Linda McGee handily beat David S. Robinson, and Wanda Bryant also had no trouble besting Marty McGee.
For the final seat, Chris Dillon won over incumbent Cressie Thigpen.
District 24 Judges Greg Horne, Alexander Lyerly and Ted McEntire ran unopposed.
Winners in the Council of State races, according to unofficial results with 99 of 100 precincts reporting, were Democrat Beth Wood, state auditor; Republican Steve Troxler, commissioner of agriculture; Democrat Wayne Goodwin, insurance commissioner; Republican Cherie Berry, commissioner of labor; Democrat Elaine Marshall, secretary of state; Democrat June Atkinson, superintendent of public instruction; and Democrat Janet Cowell, state treasurer.
Local candidates’ win thin
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners will remain a conservative board, while welcoming three fresh faces: Perry Yates, John Welch and Billy Kennedy.
Yates, a Republican and president of New River Building Supply, bested Democrat Virginia Roseman, the public relations director for Horn in the West, with 13,859 votes to her 12,693, according to unofficial results.
Yates commended Roseman as a good candidate who ran a clean race.
“What I look forward to most is having a bipartisan board,” said Yates, who added that he hoped the members would be able to lay politics aside and be a productive force for the county.
Democrat John Welch had the most decisive victory, finishing almost 7 percentage points higher than incumbent Vince Gable, the Republican vice chairman. Welch garnered 14,126 votes, while Gable received 12,285 votes, according to unofficial results.
Gable, who was first elected in 2010, said he was OK with the results and felt he had accomplished all he set out to do. He said he thought Welch’s career in the ASU athletic department helped with his visibility.
“It’s hard to beat the university,” Gable said. “That’s a big voting block.”
Welch will move from his current position on the Board of Education directly onto another demanding board in December.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that much of a transition because I worked very hard on the board of education,” Welch said.
With only 676 votes separating the candidates of District 3, Democrat Billy Kennedy edged out Republican Tommy Adams with 13,698 votes.
Yates and Welch will receive four-year terms, and Kennedy will serve a two-year term.
Kennedy said he would certainly have preferred to have four years on the board but will be pleased to represent all of the county’s residents.
“I’m glad they had confidence in me, and I hope to live up to their expectations,” Kennedy said.
Board of Education
With no incumbents running, the Watauga County Board of Education race was wide open this year. Candidates Barbara Kinsey, Brenda Reese and Ron Henries earned their spots with 10,882 votes, 10,800 votes and 10,629 votes, respectively, according to unofficial numbers.
Jay Fenwick was an extremely close fourth, winning 10,527 votes by unofficial counts. Candidates Deborah Greene and Fred Oliver also made strong showings with 7,742 and 6,978 votes, respectively.
Although the race is nonpartisan, the local parties’ activity on behalf of their candidates is substantial. Both Kinsey and Reese are Democrats, while Henries is a Republican.
Kinsey, a former English and Latin teacher, said she enjoyed the campaign, especially the two weeks she spent on the ASU campus. She said she would be putting on her student cap before she officially joins the board in December.
“First, I’ve got to learn the job, so there will be a lot of reading and studying and asking a lot of questions,” she said.
Reese, who is currently the principal at Freedom Trail Elementary in Avery County, said she is excited to have an opportunity to give back to the community. Supporting teachers as the professionals they are will be important, she said.
“I am really proud of the teachers, and I think that’s what makes our school system great,” Reese said.
Henries, who previously served on the school board from 2006-08, said he thought Tuesday’s results roughly mirrored the primary, although he closed up the gap a bit.
Henries stressed that as he moves from campaigning to serving, he will focus not on setting his own particular goals but on dealing with each issue that approaches him.
“If you go in there with an agenda, you’re going to be disappointed,” he said.
Register of Deeds
JoAnn Townsend, the current Register of Deeds and the sole candidate for the seat, also was confirmed with Tuesday’s results. Townsend, a Republican, has served in the role since 2004 and will now begin another four-year term.
Until the canvass on Nov. 16, all local election results are unofficial. At that time, the Board of Elections also will review and add in the 321 provisional ballots filed in Watauga County. Any races that are split by less than 1 percent may request a recount.
For election results in Ashe and Avery counties, visit http://www.ashemountaintimes.com and http://www.averyjournal.com, respectively.