ASHE COUNTY — Polls closed and all three precincts reported their unofficial results for the 2019 municipal elections held Tuesday, Nov. 5, with the people of Ashe County electing their mayors and alderpersons for the upcoming four years.
In total, 256 Ashe Countians participated in this year’s election, representing a 14.73 percent turnout rate out of the 1,738 registered voters in each precinct.
A breakdown of the unofficial election results are as follows:
Town of West JeffersonFor the town of West Jefferson, a total of 191 voters arrived at the polls to select a mayor and choose between six candidates running for two aldermen seats.
Tom Hartman, running unopposed for the mayoral seat left vacant by Dale Baldwin, received 151 votes; 11 votes were cast for write-in candidates.
“It feels good, I guess it really hasn’t hit me yet,” Hartman said on his new position. Hartman previously served as a member of the Board of Aldermen from 2007-2015.
He said it was an honor to follow in Baldwin’s footsteps as mayor.
“I’ve known him basically all my life,” Hartman said. “There’s not another gentleman in the town that looks after the town better than he does. He’s put his heart into the town.”
Running for alderman were Rusty Barr, Christopher Neaves, Crystal Miller, Laura McPherson, Jeffery Caudill and Grant Price. Of those six, the people of West Jefferson chose Rusty Barr and Crystal Miller to represent the town on its board of aldermen.
Barr, running as an incumbent after being appointed to the position on July 1 after the death of Brett Summey, received 150 votes. Miller, manager of Bohemia and president of the West Jefferson Business Association, received a total of 80 votes.
“I’m very excited about it. I’m looking forward to serving on the board and working for the future of West Jefferson,” Miller said.
Miller’s future in the role as president of the WJBA is undecided for now, due to any potential conflict of interest. She added that she looks forward to putting her own voice into the board, as both a younger member and a woman.
Of the other four candidates for alderman, Price received 67 votes, Neaves received 29, McPherson received 18 and Caudill received 13.
Town of Jefferson
Out of the 41 voters who turned out for the Town of Jefferson’s municipal election, incumbent Mayor Bluferd Eldreth defeated Mike Spencer by two votes, receiving a total of 20. One write-in vote was cast for alderman Charles Caudill, as well as one provisional ballot.
At 84 years old, Eldreth has served the Town of Jefferson for four decades, first being elected to the board of aldermen in 1989.
“I just thank people for voting for me and won’t disappoint them,” Eldreth said.
For the two alderman seats available, incumbent alderpersons Cathy Ballou and Charles Caudill ran unopposed. Ballou received 29 votes, and Caudill received 34.
“I look forward to serving the Town of Jefferson for my next term,” Ballou said.
Caudill has served on the Jefferson Board of Aldermen for 21 years, he said.
“I promise to do my very best for the citizens of Jefferson and try to keep moving forward,” Caudill said.
Town of Lansing
A total of 24 citizens cast their votes in Lansing, with all of them voting for Mack Powers, who ran unopposed.
“I was pleased to hear it,” Powers said. “I’m just pleased with the support that I’ve got, my people have been very encouraging. We’ve got a good, strong board and I’ll be working with them to try and continue the good things going on in Lansing.”
Incumbent Mayor Dylan Lightfoot rescinded his candidacy July 16 citing personal reasons for not seeking re-election.
Elsewhere, incumbent alderpersons Jim Blevins, Tom Richardson and Cheyenne Blevins all kept their seats. Jim Blevins, Tina Greer and Richardson ran for two of the seats, while Cheyenne Blevins ran unopposed to keep her appointed, unexpired seat. Jim Blevins received 17 votes, Greer received 6 and Richardson received 22. Cheyenne Blevins was voted for by all 24 who turned out.
Jim Blevins said he was looking forward to another term on the Board of Aldermen, adding that there was still much to be done
“Well I wanted to do another term,” Blevins said. “There are a lot of big things that I think are going to be happening in Lansing over the next four years and I wanted to serve another term and see some of those projects through.”
Powers and Jim Blevins are first-cousins, with both saying they looked forward to working with each other to continue Lansing’s growth during the next four years.