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November 9, 2016

County Commission Election Results and Board Vacancy

On Tuesday November 8th, voters elected several Buncombe County Commissioners.  For Chair, current District 1 Commissioner Brownie Newman (D) defeated Chuck Archerd (R) 73,801 to 58,070.  In District 3, incumbent Joe Belcher (R) defeated Ed Hay (D) 22,714 to 17,731 and Robert Pressley (R) defeated David King (D) 22,940 to 17,510.  In District 1, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (D) ran unopposed.

In District 2, as of November 8 at 9:10 p.m., incumbent Mike Fryar (R) currently leads Nancy Nehls Nelson (D) 22,352 to 22,045.  Provisional and absentee ballots are still being counted in that race and, assuming that the difference between the two candidates remains at less than 1% (as it currently does now), a candidate may request a recount.

New commissioners will take office on December 5th.

By Commissioner Newman moving up to Chair, a vacancy will exist in District 1 for the remaining two years of his term.  The individual who will fill that vacancy will be elected by members of the Buncombe County Democratic Party Executive Committee who reside in District 1.  As of November 9th, the Executive Committee has not yet set a date for this election.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that current Asheville City Council member Keith Young has expressed interest in the District 1 vacancy and also noted that another current Asheville City Council member, Gordon Smith, placed second to Jasmine Beach-Ferrara in the Democratic primary for the position.  If either of those individuals were appointed to fill the vacancy, it would create a vacancy on Asheville City Council which would then be filled by City Council.  In 2008, faced with a vacancy, City Council solicited applications from the public and chose from that group.

Should there be a vacancy on Asheville City Council, this would be an opportunity to advocate for someone from the South Asheville area.  Currently, there are no members on Asheville City Council from South Asheville.  The Citizen-Times ran an article on this issue in July that you can read here.