Editor’s Note: On Wednesday morning after the story below was published, Watauga County Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges announced that the Cove Creek precinct was “double counted” on Election Day. This changed the final count of races on Watauga ballots. While the final outcome between Jonathan Jordan and Sue Counts doesn’t change, Counts did take Watauga County by 83 votes. Previously, it was thought that Jordan took both Ashe County and Watauga County. The above screenshot is the accurate result.
By Jesse Wood
Nov. 4, 2014. Local voters are sending N.C. Rep. Jonathan Jordan back to the N.C. House of Representatives for another term, and Jordan couldn’t be more thrilled.
“I am thrilled that my entire district, including Watauga County this time, agreed to send me back a second leadership to Raleigh. I am going to get on the job and keep doing the things for this district that I have been,” Jordan said minutes after the final, unofficial results came in on Tuesday night.
The race between Jordan and Democratic challenger Sue Counts was among the most intense races locally with more than $260,000 spent on the race for District 93 in the N.C. House, according to campaign finance reports. Jordan’s campaign spent about $160,000 of that this election cycle.
Jordan won with 14,253 votes (53.33 percent), while Counts received 12,475 votes (46.67 percent), according to the final, unofficial results from the 2014 general election.
Jordan’s major edge though was with constituents in Ashe County, where he is an attorney in Jefferson. Jordan won 59 percent of the vote in Ashe and just edged Counts, who retired as the director of the Watauga County Cooperative Extension in 2008, in Watauga by 80 votes.
Among a number of issues, Jordan was criticized by his opponent for education funding in the state of North Carolina. While Democrats said that Jordan cut education funding by $500 million in the past two years, Republicans in the state said that spending increased by more than $1 billion under Republican leadership. During the campaign, Ian O’Keefe, Counts’ campaign manager and campaign coordinator for the Watauga County Democratic Party, chalked this discrepancy up to an increase in students and inflation.
“It’s great to [throw out] raw numbers if you don’t put them in context,” O’Keefe said last week. “Jordan is missing a huge point that our education system needs to focus on: We are so low in per-pupil funding. Teacher pay is 48th in the nation, and that doesn’t speak well to how we are treating our education system. It doesn’t indicate we value it. Anybody in the school system realizes what’s happening here is not kosher.”
Looking ahead, Jordan said he was going to continue to work on “tax reform, regulatory reform, working on jobs and the education system, teacher pay and per pupil spending.”
“Spending,” Jordan said, “on the right things that work to help children learn and succeed.”
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