Republicans dominate Tuesday, public reacts
The midterm election marked a Republican resurgence, as Dan
Soucek defeated two-term incumbent Steve Goss for the 45th N.C. Senate district, and U.S. Rep.
Virginia Foxx kept her seat in the 5th District. Two-term state incumbent N.C. Rep. Cullie Tarleton
were ousted by Republican challenger Jonathan Jordan for the 93rd N.C. House seat.
To some High Country residents, residents like bartender Christian Hemion, calling the results a disappointment is an understatement.
The race he cared about? Foxx vs. Kennedy.
It was a popular priority Tuesday, with 90 percent of the folks The Mountain Times talked to primarily concerned with the 5th District race.
It's a race Republican incumbent Virginia Foxx handily won, defeating Democrat Billy Kennedy by a two-to-one district-wide margin and topping Kennedy in Watauga by 400 votes.
"[Foxx] doesn't represent North Carolina for what it really is," Hemion said. "She represents for a bunch of conservative rednecks that don't know what they're talking about. The reason Billy Kennedy should be elected is because he will represent North Carolina the way it needs to be."
He wasn't alone.
"I think [Foxx's victory] is another step in the wrong direction that we continue to go in, not only as a state, but as a country as a whole," he said. "She seems to build her entire campaign on being a hatemonger and a bigot and hasn't made any strides to help the economy at all."
Not so said Foxx voter Adam Johnson.
"I'm glad that she won again," he said. "I believe that she's done a good job, and I believe she's honest and dependable, and I'm glad to see that she's back to doing the good work she's been doing."
To Kelli McIlnay, the victory felt personal.
"I am stoked," she said. "[Foxx] has good conservative values. I think she represents Watauga County and surrounding counties well. She definitely backs her constituents in D.C."
Pilot Truby Proctor is just happy the elections are over.
"If my phone rang one more time in the morning, I'm going burn to burn someone's house down," Proctor said.
By the Numbers
Foxx wasn't the only Republican to claim a victory.
After four years of solid Democrat dominance, they were able to sweep the three seats on the Watauga County commission.
Republican Vince Gable (8,240 votes) narrowly defeated two-term incumbent Democrat William R. (Billy Ralph) Winkler (8,171) in District 2, but Republicans held commanding leads in the other two races in unofficial returns.
Republican Nathan Miller (9,103) defeated two-term incumbent Democrat Winston Kinsey (7,104) in District 5 and former Republican commissioner David Blust returned to the board by defeating Democratic newcomer Lowell Thomas by an 8,732-7,656 vote in the District 4 race.
Republican Soucek received 60 percent of the vote in defeating two-term incumbent Goss in the 45th N.C. Senate district, which is composed of five counties. In Watauga, Soucek got 8,757 votes to 7,912 for Goss.
Republican Jordan, an Ashe County attorney, narrowly won the 93rd N.C. House district, made up of Watauga and Ashe counties, defeating two-term incumbent Democrat Tarleton by a 52-to-48 percent margin.
For Watauga County Clerk of Court, Democrat Diane Deal defeated sitting Republican clerk Wanda Howell, getting 8,883 votes to Howell's 7,677 votes.
Incumbent sheriff Len (L.D.) Hagaman handily won a second term by defeating unaffiliated candidate William Byrd by nearly 4,000 votes.
The school board will have two new faces, with incumbent Lee Warren (6,697 votes) joining Delora Hodges (7,828) and John Welch (6,131). Hodges and Warren get four-year terms, and Welch will serve a two-year term. Other candidates were Alan Utter (5,341), Charlie Wallin (3,747) and incumbent Marsha Walpole (5,385).
At the top of the ballot, in the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican Richard Burr (55 percent) defeated Democrat Elaine Marshall (43 percent) and Libertarian Michael Beitler.
For Superior Court Judge in District 24, incumbent Charles Phillip (Phil) Ginn received 40 percent of the vote, leading Gary Gavenus (29 percent) and Hal G. Harrison (31 percent). Bill Leavell was unopposed for 24th District Court Judge and Gerald W. (Jerry) Wilson was unopposed for 24th District Attorney.
Watauga County selected two Soil and Water Conservation District supervisors. Jim Bryan and Al Childers defeated Alan Teitleman.
Watauga voters overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment that would prevent felons from serving as sheriff.
More than 7,522 ballots were cast during the one-stop period, or about 18 percent. Of those voting straight-party tickets during early voting, 1,402 were Democrats and 1,132 were Republicans. The official canvass is on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m.