Ray Russell wins race for N.C. House

Ray Russell and wife Rhonda celebrate his victory in the race for N.C. House Representative.

ASHE COUNTY — Unofficial midterm election results are in, and more than 61 percent of the registered Ashe County constituency turned out to the polls to cast their ballots on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 6

A breakdown of the unofficial election results are as follows:

STATE OFFICES

With all 37 precincts in Ashe and Watauga counties reporting, unofficial results show Democrat Ray Russell overthrowing incumbent Republican Jonathan Jordan by 1,454 votes for the N.C. House of Representatives District 93 seat. In Ashe County, Jordan won the vote with 7,089 ballots cast his way compared to Russell’s 4,489.

Russell was surrounded by his campaign team at Ransom in downtown Boone Tuesday evening. He said he was thankful to his team for working with him the past two years, knocking on thousands of doors and making loads of phone calls to potential voters.

“It has been a long, hard campaign,” Russell said. “It’s been an honor to run this race, to meet all of these people and now I’m just so excited to have the privilege of representing this district.”

As for Jordan, he said he would begin rebuilding his law firm.

"I'm honored to have served and don't know what to make of the results,” Jordan said. “I have to say, Ashe County is going to lose out."

For the N.C. State Senate District 45 seat, incumbent Republican Deanna Ballard won almost 80 percent of the vote to keep her seat against Democrat challenger Wes Luther. In Ashe County, Ballard won by 4,340 votes.

LOCAL OFFICES

The new sheriff in Ashe County is Republican B. Phil Howell, who won a tight race against Democrat J.E. ‘Bucky’ Absher by less than 2 percentage points — 5,968 votes for Howell and 5,760 for Absher.

“I want to thank everyone for all of the events that we have attended and all of the responses we have received, in-person and on any outlet out there,” Howell said. “There are a lot of people who were torn in this election, because they liked us — and of course they liked Bucky (Absher) as well. It was a good election to have two good candidates face each other.”

The Republican Party won all three seats up for grabs on the Ashe County Board of Commissioners, with incumbents William Sands and Todd McNeill defending their seats and Larry Dix taking the seat formerly held by Jeff Rose. McNeill tallied 8,039 votes, Dix received 6,723 votes and Sands managed 6,554 votes.

“I’m extremely honored, and I’m just humbled by the confidence that the people of Ashe have put in me and I will work hard to honor that trust,” said new Commissioner Larry Dix.

McNeill said he was honored to be voted in for a full term.

“I’m extremely flattered that the local folks have placed their confidence in me,” McNeill said.

Sands could be seen picking up his campaign signs around the county Wednesday morning.

"I wish to thank the citizens of Ashe County for their confidence and trust in re-electing me Ashe commissioner," Sands said. "I love our beautiful county and appreciate the opportunity to continue on the board as we move forward."

For Ashe County Board of Education, Keith McClure received 5,355 votes, Dianne Eldreth had 5,349 votes and incumbent Polly S. Jones got 4,222 votes to win the three seats available in this midterm. Steve Johnson’s ballot tally fell short of Jones by a mere 20 votes.

“I’m looking forward to going down there, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work,” McClure said.

“It was very gratifying to see that folks from all over the county decided I would make a good person for the board, it was very exciting,” Eldrith said. “I’ve made presentations to the Board of Education, now I’ll be on the other side.”

“I’ll try to do a really good job on that, because I really try to do what’s best for our students,” Jones said. “I did it as a teacher, I still do it at Wilkes Community College and I do that on the Board of Education.”

Pam Barlow and Deaett Roten ran unopposed and will maintain their offices as Clerk of Superior Court and Register of Deeds, respectively, for another term. Tom Horner also ran unopposed for N.C. District 34 Attorney.

FEDERAL OFFICES

Incumbent Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx won 7,926 Ashe County votes to Democrat D.D. Adams’ 3,808. Across District 5 — encompassing Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Catawba, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties — Virginia Foxx won 57 percent of the vote.

AMENDMENTS

Amendment 1, the right to hunt and fish amendment, passed by more than 5,000 votes in Ashe County, and had 57 percent favor statewide.

The strengthening victims’ rights amendment also passed by more than 5,000 votes in Ashe County, and had 62 percent favor statewide.

Amendment 3, setting the maximum income tax rate at 7 percent received 57 percent favor in North Carolina — in Ashe County it received 7,738 votes for and 3,526 against.

The Voter ID amendment passed in Ashe County with 7,695 votes for and 3,678 against, and 2 million votes for compared to 1.6 million votes against statewide.

Amendment 5, regarding judicial merit commission, did not pass in Ashe County, with 4,035 votes for and 6,715 against. Statewide, 66 percent voted against and 33 percent voted for the amendment.

The sixth and final amendment referendum on midterm ballots proposed changes to the state bipartisan board of ethics and elections, but was disapproved by North Carolina voters by more than 800,000 votes. In Ashe, 4,502 were in favor compared to 6,351 against.

JUDICIAL OFFICES

Incumbent Republican N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Barbara Jackson won 4,729 Ashe County votes, compared to Democrat Anita Earl’s 3,629 and Republican Christopher Anglin’s 2,762. With 2,683 of the 2,706 precincts reported, Earls led the race with 49 percent of the vote, while Jackson and Anglin had 34 and 16 percent respectively.

Incumbent N.C. Court of Appeals Judge, Democrat John S. Arrowood, managed to collect 3,810 Ashe County votes for Seat 1, compared to Republican challenger Andrew T. Heath’s 7,271. Arrowood however had a narrow lead at the statewide level with 2,683 of the 2,706 precincts reported, as he had 50.71 percent of the vote to Heath’s 49.29 percent.

Republican Jefferson G. Griffin won the Ashe County vote for the N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Seat 2, with his 4,885 votes beating Democrat Tobias Hampson’s 3,376 and Republican Sandra Alic Ray’s 2,458. With 2,683 of the 2,706 precincts reported however, Hampson led with 48 percent of the statewide vote to Griffin’s 35 percent and Ray’s 15 percent.

Republican Chuck Kitchen won 6,884 Ashe County votes for N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Seat 3, compared to Democrat Allegra Collins’s 3,435 and Libertarian Michael Monaco Sr.’s 730. With 2,683 of the 2,706 precincts reported, Collins had the lead with 48 percent, Kitchen followed closely behind with 46 percent and Monaco had 4 percent.

Republicans Robert Crumpton, William Brooks and David V. Byrd ran unopposed for N.C. District Court Judge District 23 seats 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

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