WATAUGA COUNTY — David Harwood will join Albert Yount on the Blowing Rock Town Council in December, as the two came away with the most votes, according to the unofficial results.
“I’m really happy with the turnout; I’m really thankful that I’ll have the honor of serving Blowing Rock,” Harwood said after the results came in. “I really appreciate Ray (Pickett), Jim (Steele) and Albert (Yount) and all they’ve done for this town and I’m just really appreciative of their service.”
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity and am ready to get started,” Harwood said.
The tally – which won’t be made official until canvass — had the challenger Harwood take the highest number of votes with 308. Yount — currently mayor pro tem — was second with 215 votes.
“I ran on the theme on ‘progress and preservation’ and I succeeded, so I must take that as ‘let’s move forward,’” Yount said. “It was a good clean election ... the candidates did not have any problems with each other.”
Coming in third was challenge and former Council Member Ray Pickett with 167 votes, followed by current council member Jim Steele with 156 votes.
“I don’t have a have problem with it and I congratulate the two winners,” Pickett said.
Steele said he was disappointed with the results, but said that the town has elected two fine men.
“I’ve enjoyed my time on the council,” Steele said of the previous eight years.
Harwood would be serving his first term on the Blowing Rock Town Council and would join Yount for a four-year term to 2023. Current council members Doug Matheson, Sue Sweeting and Virginia Powell are up for re-election in 2021.
In the Blowing Rock mayoral race, Charlie Sellers will serve a second term after winning an unopposed race with 421 votes against 13 write-in votes.
“Well I think that it shows that we’re moving in the right direction, hopefully in a direction that citizens can be pleased with,” Sellers said. “Part of the mayor’s job is being present at many different functions and that’s what I’ve tried to do and represent the town the best way possible.”
“I very much appreciate all the people that supported me, voted for me and very much appreciate all the citizens of Blowing Rock for what they do for our community,” Sellers said. “Whether they voted for me or not, it’s a very special group of people. I think everybody has the one goal in mind for the town of Blowing Rock and (that’s) we want to grow, want to control growth and stay unique.”
The Blowing Rock mayor is appointed to a two-year term and will be up for re-election in 2021.
Boone Town Council — too close to call
A tight race for Boone Town Council seats could potentially come down to counted provisional ballots, and at least one incumbent in two municipalities will not return to their council seats after unofficial Election Day results on Nov. 5.
Boone Town Council had three open seats as current members Marshall Ashcraft and Lynne Mason announced they were not running for re-election. This left one incumbent and three challengers racing for the open positions. In Boone, the top two vote-getters are elected to four-year terms, and third place receives a two-year term.
Boone Town Council incumbent Loretta Clawson — current mayor pro tem — unofficially received the most votes with 821. This is followed by 810 votes for Dustin Hicks, 800 votes for Virginia Roseman, 794 for Nancy LaPlaca and 56 write-ins. However, there were 142 provisional ballots for the Boone race that still needed to be verified by the Watauga County Board of Elections at the Nov. 15 canvass.
All four candidates made comments about watching the results of the provisional vote count to see what comes of the race. If re-elected, Clawson said she will be be willing to work with whomever makes it on to council. She added that she was eager to see the final results. Roseman said she was “thrilled” with the results being close as all of the candidates ran on a great platform.
She said she hopes whoever ends up being the three candidates-elect will come together and “find common ground to do what’s best for the community.”
“Thank you to the town of Boone for the privilege of running,” LaPlaca said. “We will see how the provisional ballots vote.”
Remaining calm through the election process, Hicks has made a plan going forward based on either result of being selected for council or not.
“I’m excited if I get it but I’m excited for what I’ll do if I don’t,” Hicks said.
Hicks wanted to thank the voters for turning out, and was looking forward to the provisional count.
“A lot of my decision to do this was intentionally to encourage other young people to run for offices wherever they are,” Hicks said. “Your turn is next. Run wherever you go.”
Beech Mountain Town Council
With unofficial results in, all three incumbents from the Beech Mountain Town Council look to be defeated by the three challengers opposing them.
Results from Watauga and Avery counties show that Jimmie Accardi came out on top with 203 votes, followed by 123 for Kelly Melang and 106 votes for Erin Gonyea. This would dethrone current Mayor Renee Castiglione (100 votes) as well as Town Council Members Wendel Sauer (52) and Carl Marquardt (51). The race had seven write-ins and five provisional ballots.
Seven Devils Town Council
In Seven Devils Larry Fontaine, Kay Ehlinger and Jeff Williams were the top three, with Williams claiming the third spot by a single vote over Wayne Bonomo.
Fontaine — the current Seven Devils mayor — was the top vote-getter with 76. Council member Ehlinger was second with 59 votes and challenger Williams is third with 40 votes, one more than Bonomo, who had 39. Write-in candidates received 10 votes.
According to the Watauga County Board of Elections, there were no provisional ballots for Seven Devils that could potentially be added to the totals.
In Beech Mountain and Seven Devils, mayors are elected from within the council following an election. In both towns, the top two vote-getters receive four-year terms while third place receives a two-year term.