By Nathan Ham
Votes have been tallied and the unofficial elections results have been shared by the Watauga County Board of Elections.
In Boone, town council incumbent Loretta Clawson retained her seat in a very tight race with 821 votes. Dustin Hicks picked up a seat on the council with 810 votes and Virginia Roseman got the third and final seat with 800 votes. Nancy LaPlaca unofficially fell six votes short of a council seat with 794 votes. There were 56 write-in votes for the town council.
Blowing Rock Mayor Charlie Sellers ran unopposed and received 400 votes. 13 write-in votes were counted in the mayoral race. In the town council race, challenger David Harwood had the most votes with 295 and incumbent Albert Yount retained his seat with 207 votes. Challenger Ray Pickett was third with 159 votes and incumbent Jim Steele will relinquish his seat on the council, finishing fourth with 147 votes. Part of Blowing Rock resides in Caldwell County. Sellers received 21 votes to bring his election total to 421. Harwood received an additional 13 votes, pushing his total to 308. Yount had eight votes to make his total 215, Pickett received eight votes to make his total 167 and Steele received nine votes to make his final total 156.
Beech Mountain will have three new faces on their town council as all three incumbents up for re-election were defeated. The town is split between Watauga and Avery counties and Jimmie Accardi ended up with the most votes in each county. He received 183 votes in Watauga County and 20 votes in Avery County for a total of 203. Kelly Melang was second with 113 votes in Watauga County and 10 votes in Avery County for a total of 123. Erin Gonyea was third with 99 votes in Watauga County and 7 votes in Avery County for a total of 106. Renee Castiglione was fourth with 91 votes in Watauga and 9 votes in Avery for a total of 100. Wendel Sauer was fifth with 49 votes in Watauga County and 3 votes in Avery County for a total of 52 and Carl Marquardt was sixth with 43 votes in Watauga County and 8 votes in Avery County for a total of 51.
The mayor of Beech Mountain is chosen by a town council vote so there will also be a new mayor since Castiglione, the current mayor, lost her council seat.
The final municipal election was in Seven Devils where both incumbents retained their seats. Larry Fontaine had the most votes with 76 and Kay Ehlinger had 59 votes. The third seat went to Jeff Williams unofficially with 40 votes. Wayne Bonomo was fourth with 39 votes. The town is also split with Watauga and Avery County voters. Fontaine and Williams each got 10 votes in Avery County while Ehlinger got 7 and Bonomo had 3.
A total of 2,022 out of 19,599 eligible voters living in the municipalities in Watauga County (10.32 percent) voted in this election.
All vote totals are unofficial until the county canvass is completed on November 15.
Watauga County Unofficial Results
*(i) indicates incumbent
Town of Beech Mountain Town Council (Three seats)
Jimmie Accardi – 183 (31.28 percent)
Kelly Melang – 113 (19.32 percent)
Erin Gonyea – 99 (16.92 percent)
(i)Renee Castiglione – 91 (15.56 percent)
(i)Wendel Sauer – 49 (8.38 percent)
(i)Carl Marquardt – 43 (7.35 percent)
Write-In – 7 (1.20 percent)
Town of Blowing Rock Mayor
(i)Charlie Sellers – 400 (96.85 percent)
Write-In – 13 (3.15 percent)
Town of Blowing Rock Town Council (Two seats)
David Harwood – 295 (36.24 percent)
(i)Albert Yount – 207 (25.43 percent)
Ray Pickett – 159 (19.53 percent)
(i)Jim Steele – 147 (18.06 percent)
Write-In – 6 (0.74 percent)
Town of Boone Town Council (Three seats)
(i)Loretta Clawson – 821 (25.02 percent)
Dustin Hicks – 810 (24.69 percent)
Virginia Roseman – 800 (24.38 percent)
Nancy LaPlaca – 794 (24.20 percent)
Write-In – 56 (1.71 percent)
Town of Seven Devils Town Council (Three seats)
(i)Larry Fontaine – 66 (34.74 percent)
(i)Kay Ehlinger – 52 (27.37 percent)
Wayne Bonomo – 36 (18.95 percent)
Jeff Williams – 30 (15.79 percent)
Write-In – 6 (3.16 percent)