By Nathan Ham
Early voting for town council and mayoral elections in Watauga County started on Wednesday with a total of 19 candidates running for elected office in Boone, Blowing Rock, Beech Mountain and Seven Devils.
Early voting will continue through November 2 at 1 p.m. and the final day to request an absentee ballot by mail will be October 29. Election Day this year is November 5 with precinct polls opening at 6:30 a.m. and closing at 7:30 p.m.
In Blowing Rock, two town council seats and the mayoral seat will be up for election. Mayor Charlie Sellers is running unopposed while town council incumbents Jim Steele and Albert Yount face challenges from David Harwood and Ray Pickett.
In Boone, two current town council members, Marshall Ashcraft and Lynn Mason, chose not to seek reelection. Incumbent Loretta Clawson is seeking another term on the council. Virginia Roseman, Nancy LaPlaca and Dustin Hicks have filed to run as newcomers. Three council seats will be up for election between these four candidates.
The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce recently recorded podcasts of each of the candidates running for the Boone Town Council answering questions and sharing their thoughts on why they would make the best fit for the council. Links to each podcast can be found at the end of this story.
Three town council seats in Beech Mountain will be up for grabs. All three incumbents, Renee Castiglione, Wendel Sauer and Carl Marquardt, filed for reelection. Jimmie Accardi, Kelly Melang and Erin Gonyea filed to challenge for one of those three seats.
The final municipal election will be in Seven Devils where incumbents Larry Fontaine and Kay Ehlinger filed for reelection. Current councilman David Ehmig will not be seeking reelection. Two other candidates, Wayne Bonomo and Jeff Williams, will be on the ballot with three seats available between those four candidates.
Boone Town Council Candidate Podcasts