By Tim Gardner
Voters in Avery County Townships turned out in strong force Tuesday for their respective municipal elections. Twenty-six candidates were running to fill either Mayor or Town Council seats in eight city, township and village municipal government seats in the county, including: Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, Crossnore, Elk Park, Grandfather Village, Newland, Seven Devils and Sugar Mountain.
Filing began on Friday, July 5 for statewide municipal offices and concluded at 12:00 Noon on July 19.
There were no contested Mayor’s races and only four had contested races for Town Council: Crossnore, Elk Park, Beech Mountain and Seven Devils.
Candidates who filed in Avery County included: incumbents Kenny Caraway, Christie Hughes and Dave Calvert for Newland Town Council; incumbents David Lecka, Ray Allen Bolick and Charles B. Von Canon, Jr. for Banner Elk Town Council; incumbent Brenda Lyerly for Banner Elk Mayor; Terry Smith, Roy Ingram and incumbents Jesse Smith and Jane Milanovich for Crossnore Town Council; David (Eddie) Yarber for Crossnore Mayor; incumbent Bob Donovan for Village of Grandfather Mayor and incumbents Richard C. Norman and Charles (Chuck) Fuller for Village of Grandfather Town Council; Elaine McKinney Crane and Bruce Hicks and incumbents Tommy Norman, Brad Benfield, Joel Whitley, Tony Eller and Mike Smith for Elk Park Town Council; incumbent Daniel Boone for Elk Park Mayor; Lewis (Van) Lecka and incumbent Jonathan Green for Village of Sugar Mountain Town Council and Gunter Jochl for Village of Sugar Mountain Mayor. Jochl is an incumbent, but not as Mayor. He is currently a member of the Village’s Town Council.
The only Avery precincts where an incumbent was not a high vote-getter were in Beech Mountain, Crossnore and Seven Devils. In Beech Mountain, Renee Castiglione (9), Carl Marquardt (8) and Wendel Sauer (3) didn’t get as many votes from Avery voters as did Jimmie Accardi (20) and Kelly Melang (10).
In Crossnore where Jane Milanovich got 24 votes and Roy Ingram received 24. And in Seven Devils, Kay Ehlinger (7) didn’t get as many votes from Avery voters as Jeff Williams (10).
Some sections of Beech Mountain and Seven Devils are in Avery County and other parts are in Watauga County. Candidates in those townships were required by the North Carolina State Board of Elections to file in the county in which they resides and their voters must cast their ballots in the county in which they reside.
No candidates from Avery County ran for offices in Beech Mountain or Seven Devils.
However, six candidates who reside in Watauga County ran for Beech Mountain Municipal seats, including incumbent Renee Castiglione for Mayor, incumbents Wendel Sauer and Carl Marquardt and Jimmie Accardi, Kelly Melang and Erin Gonyea for Town Council.
In the Town of Seven Devils, four candidates from Watuaga County filed for offices,including incumbent Larry Fontaine for Mayor and incumbent Kay Ehlinger for Town Council. Wayne Bonomo and Jeff Williams were also candidates for Seven Devils Town Council.
Absentee by Mail voting began October 7. The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail was October 29.
Voting Totals from the election were as follows:
-AVERY COUNTY MUNICIPAL ELECTION RESULTS (VOTES RECEIVED)-NOVEMBER 5, 2019-
TOWN OF BANNER ELK MAYOR
Brenda Lyerly (I) 37
TOWN OF BANNER ELK COUNCIL MEMBER
Allen Bolick (I) 31
David Lecka (I) 36
Charles B. VonCanon, Jr (I) 31
TOWN OF BEECH MOUNTAIN TOWN COUNCIL
Renee Castiglione (Mayor) (I) 9
Jimmie Accardi 20
Erin Gonyea 7
Carl Marquardt (I) 8
Kelly Melang 10
Wendel Sauer (I) 3
TOWN OF CROSSNORE MAYOR
David (Eddie) Yarber 36
TOWN OF CROSSNORE ALDERMAN
Roy A. Ingram 26
Jane Milanovich (I) 24
Jesse C. Smith (I) 33
Theron (Terry) Smith 15
TOWN OF ELK PARK MAYOR
Daniel Boone 49
TOWN OF ELK PARK COUNCIL MEMBER
Bradley (Brad) Benfield (I) 32
Elaine (McKinney) Crane 18
Tony Eller (I) 33
Bruce Hicks 17
Tommy Norman (I) 36
Michael Smith (I) 36
Joel Whitley (I) 42
VILLAGE OF GRANDFATHER VILLAGE MAYOR
Bob Donovan (I) 10
VILLAGE OF GRANDFATHER VILLAGE COUNCIL MEMBER
Charles (Chick) Fuller (I) 10
Richard C. Norman (I) 10
NEWLAND COUNCIL MEMBER
David Paul Calvert (I) 23
Kenny Caraway (I) 28
Christian (Christie) Hughes (I) 51
TOWN OF SEVEN DEVILS COUNCIL
Larry Fontaine (Mayor) 10
Wayne Bonomo 3
Kay Ehlinger (I) 7
Jeff Williams 10
VILLAGE OF SUGAR MOUNTAIN MAYOR
Gunther Jochl 39
VILLAGE OF SUGAR MOUNTAIN COUNCIL MEMBER
Jonathan D. Green (I) 45
Lewis (Van) Lecka 36