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Main Takeaway from Municipal Elections in High Country, Incumbents Lose in Contested Races

Candidates Marshall Ashcraft, Sam Furgiuele and Connie Ullmer won seats on the Boone Town Council. They defeated three incumbents. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Incumbents were taken to the woodshed in most of the contested 2017 municipal elections in Watauga and Avery counties, according to the unofficial elections results from Tuesday.

The three incumbents on the Boone Town Council – Jeannine Underdown Collins, Charlotte Mizelle and Quint David – won’t be serving a consecutive term on the council. Taking their place will be Sam Furgiuele, Marshall Ashcraft and Connie Ulmer.

Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz ran unopposed.

Sam Furgiuele is the former town attorney. Marshall Ashcraft is recently retired from Watauga County Schools where he was director of communications, and Connie Ulmer is a professor in literacy education at Appalachian State University. Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz ran unopposed.   

In Blowing Rock, Charlie Sellers defeated long-term incumbent Mayor J.B. Lawrence. Three incumbents – Doug Matheson, Ray Pickett and Sue Sweeting – ran for Blowing Rock Town Council. Pickett will not be returning to council as local realtor Virginia Powell received more votes.

In Beech Mountain, the two incumbents running– E. Rick Miller and Paul Piquet – lost as Barry Kaufman, Weidner Abernethy and Carl Marquardt are the unofficial winners in mile-high country.

Not counting the Elk Park race where five of the six candidates were incumbents, the only contested race where incumbents swept in Watauga and Avery counties was Seven Devils. Incumbent Council Members Kay Ehlinger and Brad Lambert will serve another term. Tina Bailey received the most votes in the Seven Devils race.

In Newland, all three incumbents lost. David Paul Calvert, Erica Mckinney and Roxanna Roberson lost as Jamey Johnson, Lauren Jaynes Turbyfill and Joleta Wise will fill their seats in the Newland Town Council.

Check out all of the results in the municipal elections in Avery and Watauga counties here. 

See all of the results in North Carolina at the State Board of Elections website here.