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Early Voting for Municipal Elections Begins in Two Weeks; Blowing Rock and Boone Hosting Candidates Forums Next Week

By Nathan Ham

Municipal elections are about a month away and early voting begins in two weeks on October 14 for town council seats in Boone, Blowing Rock, Seven Devils and Beech Mountain. 

Boone’s town council will be made up of at least four brand new members and possibly all five seats could have new representation from the previous council. Only Jon Dalton George, who was appointed to fill a vacated seat left by the resignation of Dustin Hicks, and Virginia Roseman, who was appointed to fill a vacated seat left by the retirement of Loretta Clawson in February, are seeking to return to the council. Roseman, George, Todd Carter, Benjamin Ray, Adrian Tait and Eric Woolridge are all running for three open town council seats. Eric Brown, Christy M. Cook, Rebecca Nenow and Edie Tugman are all running for two unexpired terms that will end in 2023. Connie Ulmer, Sam Furgiuele and Nancy LaPlaca all chose not to seek re-election. 

Blowing Rock’s town council has three open seats with four people on the ballot. Nancy Pitts Collins, Pete Gherini, Doug Matheson and Melissa Pickett are seeking election to the town council. 

In local mayoral races, Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz is retiring and will not seek another term as mayor. Tim Futrelle is running unopposed and will be the next mayor of Boone. In Blowing Rock, Mayor Charlie Sellers is seeking re-election and is also running unopposed. 

Town council elections in Seven Devils and Beech Mountain should be uneventful. Brad Lambert, Leigh Sasse and Jeffrey Williams are running for three open seats on the Seven Devils Town Council and Wayne Bonomo is running unopposed for a seat with an unexpired term that will end in 2023. In Beech Mountain, three town council seats are open with three individuals, J. Weidner Abernethy, Erin Gonyea and Barry Kaufman, running for election. 

One-stop early voting is set to begin on October 14 at two locations:

Watauga County Administration Building, Commissioners Board Room

814 W. King Street, Boone, 28607

Appalachian State University Plemmons Student Union, Blue Ridge Ballroom

263 Locust Street, Boone, 28608

Parking for the student union voting location is at 614 Howard Street in the East Howard Lot next to the Miles Annas Student Services Building.

Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock, Boone and Seven Devils town citizens that are registered to vote in Watauga County can vote early at either location and same-day registration is also available at both locations.

Early voting hours

Watauga County Administration Building

October 14-15, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

October 18-22, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

October 25-29, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

October 30 (Saturday),   8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Appalachian State University Plemmons Student Union

October 18-22, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

October 25-29, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

October 30 (Saturday), 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Candidate Forums

The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Leadership Challenge Alumni will host a candidate’s forum on October 4 at 5:30 pm at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium

The Blowing Rock Candidates Forum is open to the public and will provide the community an opportunity to meet and hear from the Candidates for Town Council and Mayor.

The annual Boone Area Chamber of Commerce Meet the Candidates Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, October 5, from 6:30 – 9:00 pm. Due to COVID-19 considerations, this event will be held in a virtual format and streamed live on the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce YouTube and Facebook channels, as well as WATA Radio (1450 AM/96.5 FM).

This forum features the nine candidates running for Boone Town Council as well as the lone candidate for Boone Mayor. Each candidate will be given a chance to briefly introduce themselves to the audience before answering a series of questions from the moderator. According to the chamber, as of Thursday, each candidate running for office in Boone has committed to being part of the candidate forum except for town council candidate Adrian Tait. 

Schedule of Candidates:

6:30 – Event welcome & introduction of Mayoral candidate (Tim Futrelle)

6:35 – Candidate forum for Boone Mayor

7:00 – Introduction of candidates for the unexpired Boone Town Council term: Eric Brown, Christy Cook, Becca Nenow, Edie Tugman

7:05 – Candidate forum for unexpired Boone Town Council term

8:00 – Introduction of candidates for full Boone Town Council term: Todd Carter, Dalton George, Benjamin Ray, Virginia Roseman, Eric Woolridge

8:05 – Candidate forum for full Boone Town Council term

9:00 – Event Concludes
In addition to the candidate’s forum, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce has produced 20-minute interview segments with all 11 candidates. Those interviews on the “Mind Your Business” podcast series can be found here.

Boone Town Council (Three seats)

Todd Carter

Jon Dalton George

Benjamin Ray

Virginia Roseman

Adrian Tait

Eric Woolridge

Boone Town Council Unexpired Term (Two seats)

Eric Brown

Christy M. Cook

Rebecca Nenow

Edie Tugman

Boone Mayor

Tim Futrelle

Blowing Rock Town Council (Three seats)

Nancy Pitts Collins

Pete Gherini

Doug Matheson

Melissa Pickett

Blowing Rock Mayor

Charlie Sellers

Seven Devils Town Council (Three seats)

Brad Lambert

Leigh Sasse

Jeffrey Williams

Seven Devils Town Council Unexpired Term (One seat)

Wayne Bonomo

Beech Mountain Town Council (Three seats)

J. Weidner Abernethy

Erin Gonyea

Barry Kaufman