By Jesse Wood
Nov. 6, 2013. A 31st birthday and a resounding victory in the Boone mayoral race made for a pretty sweet Tuesday for current Councilman Andy Ball, who won with roughly 58 percent of the vote in a four-person race.
Coming in second place, according to unofficial results, is John Mena with 502 votes. Brad Harmon raked in 150 votes, while college student Jenny Church had a strong showing for a write-in candidate with 113 votes.
The totals for the Watauga County municipal elections are unofficial until canvassing takes place next Tuesday to count provisional ballots and any last-minute, post-marked absentee ballots. Watauga County Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges said 117 provisional ballots were cast, with 108 of those being at the Boone 2 Legends precinct.
“I am honored to receive the support from the citizens of Boone in such an overwhelming result. I think it speaks to the desire in the community for good responsive, open government,” Ball said, adding that candidates who were elected for the Boone Town Council – Rennie Brantz, Quint David and Jennifer Pena – will bring a “fresh perspective” to the council.
Ball continued that the election of all progressive candidates backed by Democrats in Boone is a “validation” that the residents of Boone support ordinances such as steep slope and view shed.
With Ball being a current councilman, he will have to resign from his post to swear in as mayor, and then the Town of Boone will announce the vacancy and seek applications for the position. As for moving forward, Ball noted that he will start reaching out to county commissioners to start on a “clean slate” to try to find an agreement on the sales-tax distribution.
In addition to also reaching out to legislative leaders in the state to help move along and secure permits for the proposed water intake project, Ball said that he will work to improve the towns internal and external communication through exploring a public information officer position for the town.
Boone Town Council
The Boone Town Council race was much like the mayoral race, as progressives Rennie Brantz, an incumbent, and Quint David and Jennifer Pena also won seats by a large margin over the third through six place finishers.
- Rennie Brantz: 1,127
- Jennifer Pena: 1,126
- Frank (Quint) David: 1,028
- Mark Templeton: 699
- Matthew C. Long: 672
- James Milner: 552
Pena was beaming after the unofficial results were tallied.
“I am really excited,” Pena said. “I think we are going to shake up the town council a little bit.”
As for looking forward, Pena said she is ready to handle the water intake situation now that she has been elected and will be privy to documents that haven’t been released to the Water Use Committee.
In the end, she said the resounding victory spoke to the fact that a majority of the town’s residents want to maintain the steep slope and view shed ordinances in order to “maintain the feel of Boone and grow smart.”
“I hope this is a mandate that they are saying they agree with our stance. At the same time, I hope they contact us to let us now how we are doing and let us know what we can improve on going forward. I definitely want to keep in touch with folks,” Pena said.
For his first foray into politics, Quint David, at the age of 27, ran a successful campaign. While he is unaffiliated, he was featured on campaign fliers with Democrats Ball, Pena and Brantz and said he was pretty much 90 percent blue.
“I learned a lot. We had a great team working behind us that did have experience. I am excited about the results [and look forward to] getting to work and trying to resolve issues,” David said.
David joked that it was clear the voters like history teachers; Brantz is a history professor at ASU and Pena teaches history at Wilkes Community College. David added that it was important to make sure he stood for what the people of Boone wanted before running for office.
He said he had fun talking to as many voters as possible in neighborhoods, at the university and around town to “figure out how what they want and to figure out how we can work with them to make the town how they want it.”