By Jesse Wood
Blowing Rock will have a new mayor soon.
Charlie Sellers, owner of the Blowing Rock attraction, defeated long-time incumbent Mayor J.B. Lawrence on Tuesday. Sellers received 298 votes or nearly 57 percent of the mayoral votes. See the exact tally above.
Lawrence has been mayor in the village for the past two decades and had won 10 previous mayoral elections. After the results came in, Lawrence took his defeat in stride.
“We live in a great country with a great process, Jesse. The voters chose me for 20 years and now they’ve chosen somebody else, and I wish them nothing but the best,” Lawrence said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sellers said he is humbled and honored that the citizens of Blowing Rock put faith in him and voted him in as mayor.
“I think the citizens realized they needed a new voice to take the town to the next level. Our infrastructure needs to be quickly put into place, repaired and rebuilt, and there’s just a lot of different projects that need to take place in a short period of time and I think the citizens felt that with my assistance and all the town supervisors that we could make that happen,” Sellers said.
“JB’s done a good job as well as all the other mayors. Maybe it was just time to take a different view and move forward … I love the town and I love the people and my heart is in it. I just hope I can help make it happen for the citizens. That is what it is all about.”
Sellers is a Blowing Rock native and descendent of the Robbins family. His grandfather is the late Grover C. Robbins Sr., a former mayor of Blowing Rock and founder of the Blowing Rock attraction. Sellers owns an industrial water treatment company down the mountain. After his wife passed away in 2013, Sellers took over the local attraction that’s been in the family since the beginning.
Sellers ran against Lawrence in the 2015 municipal elections. He received 38 percent of the vote in that loss. When asked last week why he decided to run again after losing the first time, Sellers said: “I feel like a lot of the citizens have realized that maybe their needs have not been met and I feel like a lot of people feel like it’s time for a change.”
Check out all of the results in the municipal elections in Avery and Watauga counties here.