By Tim Gardner
Avery County offices on the 2022 General Election ballot included: County Commission, Sheriff, Clerk of Superior Court and Soil and Water District Supervisor.
Seven candidates combined ran for those four offices. They included three for County Commission, two for Soil and Water District Supervisor and one each for Sheriff and Clerk of Superior Court.
With three seats open in the County Commissioners race, Robert Burleson received the highest number of votes with 4,484. Incumbents Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr. and Dennis Aldridge followed with the next highest voting numbers. Young, Jr. received 4,281 votes, while Aldridge garnered 4,256.
Incumbent Sheriff Mike Henley received 5,802 votes.
Incumbent Clerk of Superior Court Teresa Benfield got 5,750 votes. She did not have to run in the May 17 Primary Election as she also had no opposition then.
Burleson, Aldridge, Young, Jr., Henley and Benfield are Republicans and were all guaranteed of winning if they received one vote as they had no opposition from another political party. And there were no write-in candidates who filed to run for their seats. To run in the General Election as a write-in candidate for County Commission, Sheriff or Clerk of Superior Court, that person or persons would have had to obtain a petition of a minimum of 500 signatures of Avery County’s registered voters endorsing such a candidacy. And that petition would have to be submitted to the Avery County Board of Elections officials at least 90 days (August 9 deadline) before the General Election.
Charles Ballard and Bill Beuttell were candidates for the two open seats for the non-partisan Avery Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.
Ballard and Beuttell were both unopposed as well, but write-in votes were permissible by North Carolina election guidelines for both seats.
Ballard received 4,168 votes and Beuttell received 4,121. There were 86 write-in votes in this race.
The two county commission candidates with the most votes will serve four-year terms, while the candidate with the third highest votes will serve a two-year term. Therefore, Burleson and Young, Jr. will have four-year terms and Aldridge will serve for two years.
Benfield, Henley, Ballard and Beuttell will all serve four-year terms.
In another race involving an Avery County resident, Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk, got 5,190 votes in Avery County in her bid for the United States House of Representatives (Congress) District 5. Her opponent, Democrat Kyle Parrish of Cary, received 1,522 votes in Avery.
Foxx won the race district-wide, getting 174,094 votes to 100,388 for Parrish.
On February 23, 2022, the North Carolina Supreme Court approved a new map which changed the 5th district boundaries to include Avery, Mitchell, Alleghany, Ashe, Davie, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin Counties, most of Caldwell County and part of Forsyth County.
Foxx will serve a two-year term.
Also, Spruce Pine (located in neighboring Mitchell County) native and Republican Ralph Hise ran unopposed in the North Carolina State Senate District 47 race. He got 5,421 votes in Avery County.
Hise received 61,808 votes in the district and will serve a two-year term.
Since 2013, District 47 has covered all of Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, McDowell, Rutherford, and Polk counties. The district overlaps with the 85th, 112th, 113th, and 118th state house districts. But beginning in 2023, District 47 will cover all of Avery, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties, as well as parts of Haywood and Caldwell counties.
Avery County had been part of North Carolina State Senate District 46, consisting of Avery, Burke and Caldwell counties. But also starting in 2023, that district will cover all of Burke and McDowell counties, as well as part of Buncombe County.
In the North Carolina House District 85 Race to represent Avery, Mitchell and McDowell counties in the State House, Newland native, former McDowell County Sheriff and incumbent Republican Dudley Greene got 5,263 votes in Avery County. His Democrat challenger Robert Cordle received 1,433 votes in Avery.
Greene won the entire district by getting 26,477 to Cordle’s 8,995.
Greene will also serve a two-year term.
Incumbent Republican Seth Banks of Burnsville (Yancey County) got 5,444 votes in Avery County for District Attorney for North Carolina Prosecutorial District 35, which includes Avery, Watauga, Mitchell, Yancey and Madison counties. Banks ran unopposed as well. Banks was guaranteed to win if he received only one vote since he had no Democrat or other political party or parties’ opposition.
Banks received 36,752 votes district-wide. He will serve a four-year term.
In the race for United States Senate, Republican Ted Budd from Davie County and North Carolina’s 13th congressional district representative (which covers the North-Central part of the state) got 5,027 votes in Avery County. Democrat Cheri Beasley of Cumberland County, the former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, got 1,576 votes from Avery voters. Libertarian Shannon W. Bray of Apex picked up 91 votes in Avery and Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh of Wake Forest received 51 votes in the county.
At press-time, Budd was slightly ahead of Beasley in a race too close to call. Nearly 100 precincts state-wide had not reported their results for it. Bray was in third place and Hoh in fourth. And there were more than 2,000 write-in votes in the race.
53.82 (59) percent of 12,634 voters cast ballots in Avery County in this General Election. All voting totals include those from Early Voting (including absentee) and ballots cast at the polls on General Election Day.
All county, regional, state and federal primary final results can be accessed online at: https://www.ncsbe.gov/election-results. Specifically, all Avery’s election results are available online at: