By Harley Nefe
Republican challenger Ray Pickett has defeated Democratic incumbent Ray Russell in Ashe and Watauga counties’ N.C. House of Representatives District 93 race 53% to 47%. The vote totals were 24,496 for Pickett to 21,663 for Russell.
Pickett won overwhelmingly to Russell in Ashe County 68.55% to 31.45%. The vote totals were 10,587 for Pickett and 4,858 for Russell.
In Watauga County, Russell was ahead of Pickett 54.71% to 45.29%. The vote totals were 16,805 for Russell and 13,909 for Pickett.
Russell was a first-term House member after defeating Republican veteran Jonathan Jordan, who is from Ashe County.
Russell assumed office on Jan. 1, 2019, and his current term ends on Dec. 31, 2020.
Russell released the following statement on Nov. 4:
“It has been a privilege to serve Ashe and Watauga Counties for the past two years as your State House Representative. I love these counties that have been home for almost 30 years–there’s so much greatness here.
When I decided to run for office 4 years ago today, I adopted the ideal “Respect. Listen. Lead.” I still believe in that ideal and faithfully held myself to that standard.
I will leave office with tremendous gratitude for the dedication and backing made by my campaign team, volunteers, and supporters. I will feel indebted to you for the rest of my life.
I specifically want to thank my family—Rhonda and our daughters’ families who supported my efforts at much personal sacrifice. Thank you for believing in me and in the value of public service.
“I have fought a good fight; I have kept the faith.” I will leave office with my character and conscience intact.
The coming days will be challenging for our country. I implore everyone to “let the people speak.” The ideal of “Respect. Listen. Lead.” are so important right now. Respect the people’s decision, Listen to each other, and show Leadership by coming together.
As of the time this article was published, Pickett had not released a statement.
Pickett is a small businessman from Blowing Rock. He and his wife have managed the Blowing Rock Inn for over 20 years. Pickett is a former Town Council member of the Blowing Rock Town Council. He has also served on the Blowing Rock Planning Board, served as President of the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock and as a member of the Blowing Rock Historical Society. He currently serves on the board of the Hunger & Health Coalition based in Boone.
Results are unofficial until all absentee by mail ballots are received and the county canvas takes place.