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Ray Russell Wins N.C. House Seat; Ballard and Foxx Win Easily Over Democratic Challengers

Ray Russell

By Nathan Ham

It was a big night for the weatherman. In his first bid for political office, Democrat Ray Russell defeated incumbent Republican Jonathan C. Jordan in the North Carolina House of Representatives District 93 race.

Unofficial vote totals had Russell receiving 18,522 votes to Jordan’s total of 17,068.

Jordan carried Ashe County, winning with 7,089 votes to Russell’s 4,489. However, in Watauga County, Jordan just could not make up the difference. Russell tallied 14,033 votes to Jordan’s total of 9,979.

Russell spoke to reporters at Ransom Café where he along with several other victorious Democrats celebrated their victories on Tuesday night.

“I’m so indebted to the people who knocked on doors, made phone calls and were all about making this campaign better. It was a huge effort from a ton of people and it’s really rewarding,” said Russell. “The thing I’m most excited about is the fact that the voters of the district rejected the negativism that was coming from the other side and really focused on moving our state forward, moving our county forward and addressing the issues that really affect people in this district.”

Russell said his campaign knocked on 6,000 doors during this campaign.

“It’s life changing to knock on doors and ask people what matters to them. We’ve done that, the voters responded and now we’re ready to go to Raleigh and really represent this district,” said Russell.

He also congratulated Jordan on his eight years of service to the district.

“He was a worthy opponent and we’re fortunate to have won this thing through a ton of hard work,” said Russell.

It was back to business as usual on Wednesday for Russell as he headed back to the classroom to fulfill his professor duties. Looking ahead though, things are going to change in regards to how much time he gets to spend in the classroom.

“My reward for this is getting to take an unpaid leave of absence from Appalachian State, give up half of my salary as a professor, all that to take a job that pays $13,951 a year,” Russell said. “It’s been the greatest experience of my life to make this run, to meet so many wonderful people, I just can’t wait to get there.”

Russell’s win was also part of a larger movement in North Carolina that allowed Democrats to take back control of the N.C. House of Representatives.

“By breaking the Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature and by overwhelmingly rejecting the power grabbing constitutional amendments, North Carolinians sent a strong message to the legislature that they want their state leaders to find more common ground and work better with the Governor,” said Sadie Weiner, spokesperson for Gov. Roy Cooper, in a statement released this morning. “Governor Cooper is ready to work with Democrats and Republicans to invest more in education and clean water, to create better paying jobs, to expand access to health care and to help our state recover from the recent devastating hurricanes.”

A phone call for comment on the election from Jordan has not been returned.

Other winning candidates shared statements about their victories. State Senator Deanna Ballard kept her 45th District seat with 48,685 votes, beating out Democratic challenger Wes Luther who had 25,959 votes. All vote totals are unofficial.

“Thank you to everyone for your support, your votes and your prayers. I am honored to represent #NC45 and am committed in continuing to work with and or you with everything I’ve got. I thank God, above all, for the opportunity to live and serve my wonderful home state of North Carolina,” Ballard said in a statement on her Facebook page.

Ballard won three of the four counties in the 45th District Senate race. In Alleghany, she defeated Luther with 3,133 votes to 1,212 votes. In Ashe County, Ballard had 7,915 votes to Luther’s 3,542 votes and in Wilkes County, Ballard had 17,229 votes to Luther’s total of 5,366. Luther was able to win Watauga County with 12,659 votes to Ballard’s total of 11,275 votes.

Luther posted his statement on Facebook as well, thanking everyone for the hard work that was put into his campaign.

“Our campaign fell short in the election this year, but considering we only started just three months ago, we reached so many and learned some great lessons,” said Luther. “I cannot begin to say how thankful I am to everyone who contributed. Whether you donated, made a phone call, knocked on a door, or just gave me encouragement, you helped me achieve things I could never have accomplished alone. Keep fighting for what you believe in, hard work can go such a long way and in this election, we saw that. As for me, stay tuned, we’ll see what the future holds!”

In the highly contested battle for the U.S. House of Representative’s District 5 seed, Virginia Foxx defeated Winston-Salem’s DD Adams with 128,817 votes to Adams’ total of 105,588. All vote totals are unofficial.

“The people of the 5th Congressional District spoke, and they made it very clear that they support my track-record of fighting for commonsense solutions to the problems we face. I am so humbled and grateful for the trust they have placed in me and I promise to continue to work tirelessly on their behalf.  I will not stop working to find ways to ensure everyone in this district has an opportunity to be heard and represented in Washington. Over the course of this election we had so many wonderful people from all over this district come to the aid of this campaign.  I am immensely thankful to them for their hard work and commitment.  Without my campaign’s volunteers and staff our victory would not have been possible. This dedicated crew literally worked around the clock to keep voters informed about my message of conservative solutions to the problems facing North Carolina,” Foxx said in a statement Wednesday morning. “I am looking forward to the next two years of representing this wonderful district.  Having lived here since childhood, it is one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to work on behalf of this beautiful place I am proud to call my home and the amazing people who make up North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. My constituents can count on me to represent them with the same passion and toughness that they’ve come to expect in the past as I work to represent their interests in Congress and uphold our Constitution.”

North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin spoke highly of Adams and her attempt to unseat Foxx during this election.

“DD’s service to North Carolina has been focused on economic growth, agriculture, and equal rights and her campaign was no different. We know DD will continue to advocate for the people of the fifth district,” said Goodwin.

Voting breakdown precinct by precinct for early voting and the 20 voting precincts from Tuesday night can be found below, courtesy of the Watauga County Board of Elections.

2018 General Election Night Block Style Canvass Report