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Multitude of Candidates Have Filed for Avery County, State and Federal Government Offices; Foxx No Longer Will Represent Avery Following Court Ruling

By Tim Gardner

Filing for the 2020 government elections ended at 12:00 Noon on Friday, Dec. 20 and dozens of candidates from the area filed for Federal, State and local offices, including sixteen for county-wide government seats that will be open in Avery County. 

For Clerk of Court, Interim Clerk of Court Teresa Benfield filed, along with Theresa Lewis King, Lisa Vance and Linda Webb.  Benfield has served in the interim role since the retirement earlier this year of longtime Clerk of Court Lisa Daniels. 

All four candidates have worked in various capacities in the judicial system.

In the County Commissioner’s race, incumbents Martha Jaynes Hicks, Tim Phillips and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr. filed as did newcomer Jake Roland Ingram.

For Register of Deeds, incumbent Renee DelIinger filed for re-election.

Incumbent John Millan has also filed for County Coroner.

Benfield, Vance, King, Webb, Hicks, Phillips, Young, Jr., Ingram, Dellinger and Millan are all Republicans.

For non-partisan Board of Education, incumbents Kathy Aldridge and John Greene filed as did Ruth Shirley, Jennifer Jennings, Derrick Calloway and Steven Neil Wilson.

For North Carolina House of Representatives (State House), District 85, Democrat Ted Remington of Marion filed as did Republican Dudley Greene, also of Marion.  Greene is an Avery County native.

In the North Carolina State Senate Race, Democrat Michael Barrick of Lenoir filed as did incumbent Republican Warren Daniel of Morganton.

For the United States House of Representatives (District 11), Democrats who filed include: Steve Woodsmall of Pisgah Forest; Gina Collias of Kings Mountain; Morris (Moe) Davis of Asheville; Michael O’Shea of Asheville; and Phillip G. Price of Marion.

For United States House of Representatives (District 11), Republicans who filed include:  Lynda Bennett of Maggie Valley; Jim Davis of Franklin; Chuck Archerd of Asheville; Dan Driscoll of Lenoir; Joey Osborne of Hickory; Steven Fekete, Jr. of Lenoir; Dillon S. Gentry of Banner Elk; Wayne King of Kings Mountain; Madison Cawthorn of Hendersonville; Matthew Burril of Asheville; and Vance Patterson of Morganton.

Green Party candidate for the United States House of Representatives (District 11) will be Tamara Zwinak of Franklin, while Tracey DeBruhl of Asheville will be the Libertarian candidate for the same office.

U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) will no longer represent Avery County in 2020.  The former president of Mayland Community College, located on the Avery-Mitchell County line, filed for re-election in 2020 to the US House of Representatives in the recently realigned North Carolina 5th District.

In November, a new congressional districting map was passed in the North Carolina General Assembly that made changes to the 5th district.

The new 5th district includes Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Alexander, Caldwell, Burke, Cleveland and Gaston counties, eastern Rutherford County and a small segment of northern Catawba County.

Avery, Surry, Stokes, Yadkin and Forsyth are no longer part of the 5th district, which Foxx represents.

A judicial ruling will alter Western North Carolina’s political map, eliminating the line that split the city of Asheville into two congressional districts.

The change follows a Dec. 2 unanimous decision by a three-judge state panel not to review a quickly drawn remedial map of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts. That map was drawn by the Republican-majority General Assembly, which has the power to redistrict every ten years after a census is conducted.

The panel on Oct. 28 blocked the old map mandating that it likely amounted to an illegal partisan gerrymander. That map had resulted in the election of ten Republicans and three Democrats even though statewide the number of votes were close to evenly split between the parties. 

Political observers have said that the new lines would likely reduce the Republican statewide advantage by two seats, though the 11th was not one of them. Democrats generally declared the map still amounted to an illegally-engineered partisan advantage for Republicans. But the judges said it was too close to the March 3 primaries to consider detailed redistricting arguments. 

The new 11th District will cover 17 counties: Avery, Mitchell, Yancey, Madison, Buncombe, McDowell, Polk, Henderson, Transylvania, Jackson, Haywood, Swain, Macon, Clay, Graham, Cherokee and half of Rutherford.

All local Avery County election filings had to be done by State of North Carolina regulations at the Avery County Board of Elections office, located in the Avery Court House in Newland.

The 2020 Primary Election will be held on March 3, 2020 and the General Election on November 3, 2020.